As a kid, I bled red and yellow. While I grew up liking Sting more than any other wrestler, Hulk Hogan was right up there. Training, saying my prayers, eating my vitamins, and believing in myself was not just a cheesy catch phrase for me; it stuck with me throughout adulthood, and now I am a devoted Christian, a certified Personal Trainer, PhD student, and I feed my three-year-old son his vitamins everyday. Who ever thought wrestling promos would transcend behind the television screen? Well, it sure did for me.
When someone decides to immerse himself in the wacky world of professional wrestling, he is realizing that his identity has now been transformed. People will start calling you by your character name, especially the wrestlers who you will form a tight bond with travelling up and down the country over 300 days a year. You see them more than your own family, and a fraternity is built filled with love, hate, and everything in between. The more popular you get, the more you are constantly stripped of your privacy. We see it all the time. This is why dirtsheets and gossip sites continue to be heavily visited, and that will never change.
Over the years, to say that Hulk Hogan has embraced this limelight is a top candidate for the understatement of the year. His fame has created both a crown of respect, as well as a dark cloud over his career. But, as a fan, I should not be concerned with that, right? WRONG.
Although his life is his life, when it comes to personal attacks towards my culture, now it is time to speak up. Over the past week, the biggest topic has been Hogan showing his true feelings while believing no one but a small, confidential few would hear it. There is no need to go into great detail about the story, because if you are reading this, you most likely already know what happened. However, just in case you do not, the childhood role model of many, and arguably the greatest wrestling character of all time had some choice words to say about the black race when it comes to his daughter, Brooke, potentially being involved with an African-American a number of years ago.
“Ni–er” was used in an incredibly demeaning context, and it was not geared towards any particular hatred for a person disrespecting neither him nor his daughter. Even in that case, it is unacceptable. However, he did find the word to be appropriate when describing an overall race that his daughter sexually preferred at the time. As the old adage says, “What’s done in the dark will come out to the light.”
As an African-American journalist, I understand how fellow journalists thrive on getting the latest “scoop”. There is an indescribable thrill for one of us to report a fresh, buzzworthy story, especially if either it is exclusive or having the privilege of being the first one to break the news. However, this is far beyond that. This is realizing that the legend of Hulk Hogan is marred with ridiculous comments toward a culture whose strong fanbase helped him become who he is today.
As a Christian, I understand that forgiveness is one of the best tools that anyone could have in their arsenal. Therefore, I forgive his actions. However, forgiveness does not always get you off the hook. “Whatsoever a man soweth, that shall he also reap.” I did not come up with that. Someone far more greater than me did, and it is very a sound precautionary measure. So, Hogan, your immortality proves to be limited after all.
I would have suggested that he sit back, sincerely admitted his wrongdoings, and allow for some time to heal, as well as another big story come along that shrouds the current one. However, in typical Hogan fashion, he just cannot cure his media addiction. Retweets of African-American supporters, pictures of people still on “Team Hogan”, and an apology that was laced with a defensive shield further diminished my belief that this was a one-time occurrence. In fact, the recent news of his conversation with his son Nick, which happened a couple years later than the one he is apologizing about, drives a cold stake in his sincerity.
Although WWE’s treatment of African American superstars and (lack of) executives is another major topic, I do support them in making the decision to rid themselves of the tainted legend of Hulkamania. If anything, THAT is best for business. From everything that is coming out right now, it certainly would not surprised me that there is more to come.
Hope you brought some extra popcorn.