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The New Day and Titus O’Neil are the role models Hulk Hogan only pretended to be

WWE’s 2014 SuperStars For Kids Photo by Erika Goldring/Getty Images

In some ways, I feel like how I feel about Hulk Hogan and his conduct, and the ensuing apologies for that conduct, doesn’t really matter. I didn’t have the entirety of my existence dismissed in just a few sentences; I didn’t have my worth as a human reduced to nothing because of the color of my skin, or the horrific stereotypes surrounding it.

Instead, I figure, the right thing, or as close as I can get to it, is to sit back and allow those who were affected to speak out and be heard. To feel however they’re going to feel about it. To validate that, and support it.

In the time after WWE announced Hulk Hogan was being reinstated in its Hall of Fame and a backstage meeting was held where he spoke to the roster about it, both The New Day and Titus O’Neil have released lengthy statements detailing exactly how they feel.

We covered them here and here, but I want to reprint them in this space as well, both because they deserve the additional space and because I am absolutely blown away by them:

These men had every right to tell Hulk Hogan to take his “apologies” — which sound a lot more like excuses to me — and stick ‘em. They had every right to react with great anger, and maybe even much more than that. But they were calm, reasonable, and downright respectful. In the face of the most hateful language they could possibly be confronted with, and with the man who spewed it throwing out what sure sounds like yet another bullshit apology for it, they were thoughtful, articulate, and professional.

They acknowledged his contributions to the industry they make their living in, itself a show of emotional maturity. Then they even went so far as to make clear forgiveness is attainable, if only the offender shows he deserves it. That, to me, is the mark of a great man — the willingness to find an understanding, and the compassion to find forgiveness, even while staring down such hurtful language, so personal in nature.

Hulk Hogan is not a role model.

The New Day and Titus O’Neil damn sure are.

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