The Hulk Hogan redemption tour that started with talking to TMZ and will continue onto Nightline stopped off at Good Morning America today (August 31, 2015).
In an interview with Amy Robach, five minutes of which aired during the show's eight o'clock hour, the Hulkster begged forgiveness while pointing toward his childhood environment and depressed state when the leaked tape was filmed as reasons he used the 'n-word'.
Here's the transcript of Hogan's statement on the broadcast (video of the segment is above, or here):
Out of everything that I've been through, this one hit me probably the hardest.
I was at the lowest point of my life, to the point where I want to kill myself. Yes, I was [suicidal]. And I was very mad at my daughter - for really no reason, I was upset over a situation that happened between her and her boyfriend, and I had no idea I was being taped.
No I'm not. I'm not a racist. I never should have said what I said. It was wrong. I'm embarrassed by it. But a lot of people need to realize that you inherit things from your environment. And where I grew up was South Tampa, and it was a really rough neighborhood, very low income, and all my friends, we greeted each other saying that word. The word was just thrown around like it was nothing.
I would say that is very fair [that he inherited a racial bias]. The environment I grew up in, all my white friends, all my black friends, to hear the word a daily basis when they'd greet me in the morning, that's what they'd say to me, "good morning so-and-so'. I think that was part of the culture and the environment I grew up in.
Oh my gosh please forgive me. Please forgive me. I'm a nice guy. It's not the Hulk Hogan that rips the shirt off and bang-bang-bang slams giants. You know, I'm Terry Bollea, I'm just a normal man.
Everything I've done my whole career, my whole life, was like it never happened. Yeah, like I'd never existed. Oh my gosh, it was devastating.
If anybody, should of disowned me, it should of been her [Brooke]. You know? She should of been the one to throw me out like the trash, but instead, she showed me more love than anybody.
She's been so supportive, she's been the direction of my attack, you know? I was not so mad at her boyfriend, I was mad at her, you know? And she instantly said, 'I don't even need to forgive you, cause I'm not mad at you'.
Just because a person makes a mistake, just don't throw him away. You don't throw good people away. If everybody, at their lowest point, was judged on one thing they said, and all of a sudden your whole career was wiped out today because of something you said ten or twenty years ago. It'd be a sad world. People get better, everyday. People get better.
It's a compelling speech, played for maximum effect by the ABC morning show's producers who include footage of Hulk breaking up while talking about his daughter even after he asks "can we stop?"
Time will tell if he'll get a second chance, but the tone of the coverage here indicates to me that its only a matter time. Just about the only thing the 21st century public loves more than watching an icon fall is supporting their comeback (unless they hurt dogs).
Roback closes the piece with an in-studio discussion of what's next for the WWE Hall of Famer:
Hogan told me the day he was fired from the WWE was the greatest day of his life because the truth literally set him free, and he's now dedicating to raise awareness about the impact of racial slurs, so he's really hoping to make this a positive.
He would give his left arm to get back in wrestling. He would love a second chance, he made that very clear.
Personally, I'd be more open to accepting a Hogan comeback if he was talking about the "racial bias" he says he inherited and less on a crusade to abolish the slur he used. Yahoo's coverage of the GMA interview includes a quote from Hulk about his awareness-raising campaign:
...you just can't use the word. Let's take it out of the dictionary. Let's not use it in rap songs or movies. I mean, if it's unacceptable, it's unacceptable.
That gets back to the fingerpointing he did in the days immediately after the new broke and away from dealing with possible root prejudices that showed up not just in the video at the center of his Gakwer lawsuit (and even there, not just about blacks, but also homosexuals), but also in other tapes that came out after the initial one.
Does Hulk Hogan's interview help you forgive, Cagesiders? Are you ready to move on or possibly even become a Hulkamaniac again?