WWE cut ties with Hogan in the summer of 2015 due to extremely racist comments that he made becoming public as part of a sex tape release. At the time of his company release, Hogan was front and center as a judge on Tough Enough. Even so, the scandal was so bad they immediately cut him loose and removed him from the WWE Hall of Fame (he has since been reinstated).
Hogan traveled to Pittsburgh last month for Extreme Rules and made an apology to the entire locker room before the show. To say the apology didn't go over well with many of those in attendance would be an understatement.
Though we have no recording of Hogan's words, multiple sources have indicated that the general sentiment conveyed during Hogan's speech was that wrestlers should watch what they do at all times because they could be recorded without their knowledge at any point. Several wrestlers felt as though Hogan didn't show enough remorse about his words and that the apology was more or less Hogan feeling sorry that he got caught.
Hogan made an appearance this week on Bill Apter's new podcast, The Apter Chat, and explained how his return to WWE came about. He also fired back at the wrestlers who have said that they don't accept his apology.
According to Hogan, his return to the company began with Triple H reaching out to him via text message every so often. That eventually evolved into talking about how he could contribute to the WWE once again. Hogan told Triple H that he really wanted to speak to Vince McMahon again, which was arranged, and the two of them caught up.
Hogan went on to explain that Triple H and Vince asked him to have a conversation with the African American wrestlers in the locker room due to what had happened with the racial slurs Hogan used in the past. Hogan claims that it was his idea to address the entire locker room instead.
"I said no, I'm not gonna do it," Hogan explained. "If I come back, I want to talk to everybody. Because what I did not only hurt the business, it hurt white, black, every athlete you have. Japanese. Everybody that's involved and loves this business. What I said hurt this business."
Hogan also denied that the theme of his apology was about getting caught rather than actually apologizing for the comments that he made.
"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 explained.
He continued, "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."
Titus O'Neil and The New Day both went on record as saying that they believed Hogan wasn't as remorseful as he should have been during his apology and that they would like to see and hear him show more remorse about the racial comments he had made. Hogan clearly is speaking out to them with these comments.
Whatever you think about Hulk Hogan, this is a touchy situation that hasn't been fully resolved. Hogan's comments here aren't likely to smooth over the hurt feelings any more than his apology did back before Extreme Rules.