Hulk Hogan expressed his belief Friday that the "brotherhood" of wrestling should lead to all WWE Superstars forgiving him for the racist comments he made in a video released in 2015.
Appearing on The Apter Chat with Bill Apter (h/t Ryan Satin of Pro Wrestling Sheet), Hogan called for some understanding from his peers who have yet to accept his apology:
"I just hope the brotherhood can get back to the way it was. Outside the ring, you're supposed to protect your brother. In this case, it's a situation where 75, 80, 90 percent of the wrestlers are protecting me and they're giving me another chance to move forward. There's just a few wrestlers that kinda like don't understand the bond and the brotherhood of wrestling. If someone makes a mistake, you need to forgive them and move on and try to let them prove themselves."
Hogan spoke to the entire WWE locker room before the Extreme Rules pay-per-view in July on the heels of WWE announcing that he had been reinstated into the Hall of Fame.
Kofi Kingston of the New Day was among the first Superstars to speak out following Hogan's apology.
Kingston released a statement on behalf of himself and his tag team partners, Big E and Xavier Woods, regarding the situation:
Kofi noted that they were "indifferent" about Hogan's return but said their opinion of him could evolve if he makes a "genuine effort to change."
Also, Titus O'Neil commented specifically on Hogan's speech to the WWE locker room on an episode of Busted Open Radio.
During the interview (h/t Aaron Varble of WrestlingInc.com), O'Neil questioned if Hogan's apology was sincere:
"This is not about second or third chances. This is about a man making a decision to make statements that he truly felt in his heart I believe at that time. He may not feel that way now, he may regret it. But to come out and say, 'I didn't know I was being recorded' and 'be careful what you say' and 'I don't remember saying that stuff.' When you start out an apology like that. Dude, you lost it already. I wanted to give him a chance, I didn't know what that meeting was about going in but I wanted to give him a chance.
"He legitimately screwed that all up because again, it's not about making a mistake. It's not a mistake. You're talking about historically using language and saying things that a lot of people in our business unfortunately have said in the past. Although our business has come a long way from where it used to be, there are still some people in this business that speak that way they just aren't recorded. So Hulk Hogan or Terry Bollea is not the only person that have used those type of comments. I know that for a fact."
With regard to O'Neil's comments, Hogan insisted that he wasn't sorry only because of the fact that he was caught on video:
"A lot of people accepted my apology. And a lot of people heard what they wanted to hear and a lot of the narrative that came out of the meeting was on point. A lot of the narrative was really different. I was surprised to hear some people interpreted what I said that I was just sorry I got caught on camera, or whatever they interpreted, but I never said that."
Hogan's reinstatement into the Hall of Fame is seemingly the first step toward WWE accepting him back into the family after cutting ties with him in 2015.
While he has yet to make an appearance on WWE programming since his reinstatement, something of that nature is likely in his future due to the value his name and brand can bring to the company.