Hulk Hogan is the man who brought WWF (now known as WWE) to the forefront of American pop culture and transformed professional wrestling into a global phenomenon. He was larger than life in the 80’s and 90’s. He was the man who told kids to “say your prayers” and “take your vitamins.” You didn’t have to watch wrestling to know who Hulk Hogan was, as he had become and remains a household name!
If there ever was a Mount Rushmore for professional wrestling, in my opinion, it would include Dwayne “The Rock” Johnson, “Stone Cold” Steve Austin, “The Nature Boy” Ric Flair and of course the immortal one, Hulk Hogan. You can’t take away the impact the Hulkster had on the wrestling business and the road he paved for future wrestling superstars. Hulkamania ran wild and guys like me definitely benefitted from that.
As a kid, I literally cried when Yokozuna defeated Hogan for the WWE Championship in 1993 at the King of the Ring pay-per-view. The villain, Yokozuna, covered my hero for the three-count, a then eight-year-old JTG whispered under his breath, “cheating mothaf*****,” as the tears rolled down my face. It was the first time my mom heard me curse and because she was also a diehard Hulkamaniac, she let my underage profanity slide.
Who knew I’d grow up, become a wrestling star in my own right and then be disappointed by the man I once idolized. Three years ago, when I heard the news that Hogan was caught on video using the n-word, I really didn’t pay it any mind. I automatically gave him the benefit of the doubt and dismissed what happened to him having made a mistake. But then, I actually read the transcript from the video released by Gawker, my attitude changed drastically. I wasn’t mad about what I learned, I was disappointed.
See, not only did my hero use the n-word in the context that he did, he also admitted to being racist. Lets put aside for a second that he said “F***ing N****RS,” lets focus on the fact Hulk Hogan ADMITTED to being a racist!
Now what is a racist? Usually, when someone thinks of a racist, they only think of images of Ku Klux Klansman, or an individual who openly hates other races. But those aren’t the only types of racists. There are racists that actually love hanging around the very people they are racist against; love that group’s culture; and even marry and have kids with someone from the very race who they feel are inferior to them. And there are instances where folks who are racist actually give opportunities to folks from the community they dislike. Some of you would read this and say, “JTG, you’re tripping! How can a person do all of that and still be considered a racist?” Because, silly rabbit, racism is a superiority complex.
Historically, slave owners would fall in love with their slaves and start having affairs with them. They would spoil their favorites and even have children with some of them. Some slave masters even took part in their slave’s festivities. They would dance and sing with them and have a gay ole time. However, at the end of the day, they were still their slave-owned property without freedom or independence.
When a person believes another race is inferior to them because of the color of their skin, that individual subconsciously makes decisions and actions that affect their behavior, which makes them act out their racism.
Studies say that 95% of our decisions, emotions, actions, and behavior are controlled by our subconscious mind, whereas 5% is only controlled by our conscious. So, that means, you could be functioning as a racist and not even know it.
On the video that derailed Hogan’s wrestling career and that made international news, he said: “I am a racist, to a point, f**king n****rs.” There’s no need for me to post the whole transcript. That sentence alone is vile, disgusting and wasn’t a mistake, but an admission of his character or lack thereof. Not only did Hogan confess to being a racist, he made a point to say ” F**king N****rs” at the end, which was really unnecessary.
The entire exchange appeared as though Hogan had a racist point he’d been waiting to get off his back and because he didn’t know he was being recorded, he was free to share his true feelings.
Can an individual be forgiven for being a racist? Absolutely! But with any problem, the first step towards resolution is admitting to yourself that you are a racist and making a genuine, conscious effort to understand the danger in your beliefs and work to change them. Hogan has been on his “I’m sorry” tour and has been asking for his fans around the world to forgive him. Here’s my truth: I’m sorry BROTHER, but I’m not there just yet.
Honestly, when I hear Hogan asking for forgiveness, his sorry doesn’t sound genuine to me. I don’t hear the heartfelt passion of a man looking to right a wrong and heal a community he realizes he hurt. Instead, Hogan comes off to me as though he’s actually only apologizing for getting caught. I learned through experience that “sorry” is just a word. If you catch a friend stabbing you behind your back and you turn around and confront them and all they have to say is “I’m sorry,” is it sincere? When you tell them the knife still in your back and it hurts, can you take it out, and your friend makes excuses and defends his actions and still doesn’t acknowledge the knife that’s in your back, is their apology really genuine? A friend that is really sorry will acknowledge the knife, take it out, help heal your wound, and then apologize.
When specifically asked by TMZ if he agreed with WWE Hall of Famer Mark Henry on whether he owed Black wrestlers an apology before returning to WWE in some capacity, Hogan responded by saying, “I totally agree with him, not to the black wrestlers, to all the wrestlers. What I said was way out of line and I’m forever sorry for that.” To me, that felt like the #AllLivesMatter answer to #BlackLivesMatter. Hogan just doesn’t seem to get it.
Should Hogan be banished from professional wrestling? I’m not saying that at all. He can come back from this ugly, public black eye just like he did in 1993 after his jet ski accident. But it’s going to take work. It’s time for real reflection on his part.
I don’t hate Hogan, though his words revealed he may hate guys who look like me. I hope Hogan does really recognize what he did and truly strives to atone for it. But until then, I’m hanging up my HULKAMANIAC Jersey.
“So, Hogan, the ball is in your court, BROTHER! Whatcha gonna do, when Black wrestling fans and African Americans worldwide have turned their backs on YOU!”