EDITORIAL: Hogan pleads his case and explains how he was pushed to resign from WWE

In an interview with Sports Illustrated, which PWTorch assistant editor James Caldwell summarized at PWTorch.com today, Hulk Hogan said the following in his defense: “They’ve known me for over 30 years and they know I’m not a racist, so they should have went to the source. I don’t use the word, ever, except for in that moment of anger.”

Hogan needs to get his story straight. Didn’t he tell ABC’s “Good Morning America” that the n-word got tossed around among friends of his growing up in the Tampa area, so it’s not big deal? Now, this n-word that he said is actually term of endearment according to him where he comes from, is something he only said in that one moment of anger?

Hogan also said that he is not a racist, without addressing the fact that his very words in that transcript include him saying he is a racist. So he didn’t just use the “n-word” in anger, he said in the same paragraph that he is a racist. Now he says he’s not. Should WWE be expected to believe the public Hogan who is always angling to present the best public image so he can make more money off of his public brand? Or should we believe the guy whose guard was down and didn’t know he was being recorded?

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Hulk Hogan (artist Travis Beaven)

It’s noteworthy that as far back as Hogan and Vince McMahon go, Vince didn’t call Hogan at all during this. Hogan seemed hurt that Vince had Triple H handle the phone calls. Hogan also wanted a chance to make his case to them in person before they strong-armed him into resigning. This goes into what I’ve been told, which is Hogan being caught on tape not just using the n-word, but saying racist things in the context of the n-word (and also with his son during a jailhouse conversation, which no one seems to ask him about for some reason, even though in some ways that was worse than the sex tape comments), was merely the excuse WWE was looking for to get rid of Hogan, whom they found to be more trouble to deal with than he was worth in 2015.

WWE didn’t want to deal with Hogan “complaining about payoffs and angling to get a match at WrestleMania in Dallas,” according to one source. It’s interesting Hogan says that WWE blamed USA Network for initiating the request for Hogan to immediately resign.

I did enjoy his passive-aggressive “you said the word, too, Vince!” comment he slipped into his plea to be brought back to WWE to preach against racism and racist language.  He said: “I shouldn’t use it, the WWE shouldn’t use it in their programming when they’re doing skits. It shouldn’t be used at all.”

In other words, Hogan is saying – as nicely as he can – that while he said the n-word, so did Vince McMahon on TV. Of course, the contexts couldn’t be more different (except for the Hogan retweet of someone ridiculously comparing his bigoted use of the term to President Obama’s academic explanation of why he doesn’t believe it should be used in any context). Vince McMahon, on Raw, was playing an out-of-touch sixty-something year old man trying too hard to be cool and impress someone younger than him.

At first glance, that might actually sound remarkably like what Hogan was doing when he said the word, but the difference wasn’t just that Vince was portraying a character in a skit on TV whereas Hogan was using it in real life to impress his sleazeball friends. Also, he didn’t just use the n-word, but it was the sentences wrapped around it (and the jailhouse conversation with his son, Nick) that made it much worse. He wasn’t trying to interject some “cool street vernacular” in a harmless way; he was using the n-word in the context of outright saying he is racist and why he didn’t want his daughter to ever date a black man and telling his son he didn’t want them to be reincarnated as black men.

Having said all of this, I was glad to see Hogan speak out against his use of the term more decisively than he had previously during this interview. I do not, though, think that WWE wants Hogan on their shows bringing attention to his vile language and past mistakes and then trying to position himself as the spokesperson for anti-racism. It’s not WWE’s job to employ Hogan while he tries to repair his image on their TV.

He clearly wants back in WWE, and maybe it will happen, and perhaps this is even a step in the right direction. The fact that Vince McMahon hasn’t picked up the phone to talk with Hogan, though, indicates Vince isn’t thinking of fixing Hogan’s image and bringing him back into the fold is a top priority. Nor should it be.

Read full interview highlights at PWTorch.com at this link.

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