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John Cena’s Fourth of July message to America: be a patriot, not a bigot

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Professional wrestler, comedic actor, and dedicated student of Mandarin John Cena has an important Fourth of July message. The video, embedded above, is a PSA from the non-profit group Ad Council and the #WeAreAmerica campaign.

"Almost half the country belongs to minority groups," says Cena, midway through the ad. "People who are lesbian, African American, bi, transgender, and Native American, and proud of it. After all, what’s more American than freedom to celebrate the things that makes us us. This year, patriotism shouldn’t just be about pride of country. It should be about love. Love beyond age, disability, sexuality, race, religion, and any other labels. Because the second any of us judge people based on those labels, we’re not really being patriotic, are we?"

Despite being one of the winningest pro-wrestlers of all time, John Cena has spent most of his career as a punchline amongst fans. Cena performs goofy raps. He wears shorts with enough denim to shutdown a JNCO factory. And perhaps most damningly, he’s the moral center of a inverted reality in which ripped men and women pretend to pulverize one another to advance their careers.

But recently, the performer’s turned a corner with viewers, and carved a place in the broader realm of pop culture — perhaps because he’s been allowed by his employers to have a personality beyond his WWE character. And that personality is a socially conscious, intelligent, and funny member of society.

For years, wrestling fans despised Cena because he was designed for kids to look up to. Now Cena is using that status to share a positive message, one that matters far beyond the squared circle.