In his first interview since being reinstated by WWE, Hulk Hogan explained how he apologized to the WWE locker room for audio that captured him using the N-word years ago.
Speaking to his old friend and pro-wrestling photographer Bill Apter on the new wrestling podcast "The Apter Chat," Hogan said he began his "nervous" address to the current WWE roster ahead of July pay-per-view event "Extreme Rule" with a simple "Thank you guys for the time."
Hogan, whose real name is Terry Bollea, continued, saying he told the other wrestlers: "The first thing I want to do is tell you guys, 12 years ago I said something. About three years ago it just came to light. And I want to apologize for everything I said. I could give you the 'woe is me' story, I could tell you all the things, all the reasons why I was in this space I was in -- a very dark, dark space. But everybody's got a 'woe is me' story, everybody's got an excuse."
"But the truth is, I said these things 12 years ago and I didn't even know they were said until three years ago because that's when they came out," he continued the month-ago mea culpa. "I can't remember what I said last weekend let alone 12 years ago. Maybe you guys can but I can't. And when I said it it was in a fit of anger. But I did say it, I'm accountable, that's not who I am. That's not how I feel, that's not how I believe. But the one thing I will tell you is when I said it I was very, very mad. Very, very mad at a situation. But I did say it. It was inappropriate, it was out of context, it was hurtful, it was unacceptable and I did it. I apologize, if you guys could ever forgive me I would be forever grateful."
Hogan said that Part 2 of his locker room address was the advice portion.
"Now, I want to let you guys know that this is the biggest spotlight in the world," Hogan remembered telling the modern-day Superstars. "The WWE's the biggest spotlight in the world. And if you're a little, teeny star, don't even slip on a banana peel when you're a little star here, because you're in the spotlight. Try not to make any mistakes like I made."
"But when you're a big star here and you make a mistake, the whole world is gonna know," he continued. "You'll be on the front page of every newspaper, of every magazine -- just like it happened to me. I made a mistake and this machine was so big -- the WWE's made me such a big star -- that everybody knows what's going on. So please be careful because people have cell phones and cameras -- so just be careful."
Not everyone was very moved by Hogan's use of his opportunity to address what he called the "brotherhood."
Here is what The New Day, WWE's most prominent black tag team, posted to Twitter about two days later:
— King T’Kofi (@TrueKofi) July 18, 2018
Fans can hear the full Hogan podcast interview here:
SummerSlam, which is the company's first PPV since "Extreme Rules," airs Sunday starting at 7/6c on WWE Network.