While the latest reports indicate WWE won’t be emphasizing it a great deal right now, his appearance at the Nov. 2 Crown Jewel show in Saudi Arabia made it clear – Hulk Hogan is back with the company, three years after being fired when a tape featuring him using a racial slurs and making racist statements about black men went public.
That doesn’t sit well with some fans and wrestlers. But it’s the reality of the situation. So what can be done?
Another WWE Hall of Famer, Mark Henry, spoke to Brandon Robinson at Heavy.com and offered a concrete suggestion:
“To start, he needs to go to some of these black universities, to these law students and let them grill him and own it and apologize. Not because you got caught, but apologize because you honestly feel remorse. He said that he found God and he touched my heart when he said that, because I know what God will do, so if God touched him, God will also say speak up, and when you reveal your past, you can go on in the future and I still don’t think he’s still completely revealed it.”
The key pieces are owning it and clearly apologizing for having said/thought what was caught on that 2012 tape rather than just saying he’s sorry it was recorded without his knowledge. But something like opening a dialogue with future African-American leaders, many of who probably were Hulkamaniacs at some point in their lives, would be an actionable, concrete step Hogan could take.
Personally, I’d also advocate for Hulk going out and speaking to audiences of white fans to explain how he’s learned that what he said was wrong, but before we get to that or Henry’s suggestion, Hogan needs to take ownership.
If he does that, more fans will be willing to accept and even welcome his return. Until then, you’re going to find members of the WWE Universe responding in the same way Henry told Robinson the locker room is:
“There’s been a mixed bag on how to resolve it. I’ve had people being like, ‘to hell with him’ and I’ve had people going, ‘you know what, if he do this and he do that, OK.’”
Will Hulk do this and that? Or keep on with his current tack of warning wrestlers not to get caught in incriminating situations and lamenting that those who don’t embrace him as is “don’t understand the brotherhood of wrestling”?
As Henry says, “It’s up to him”.