Hulk Hogan was reinstated to the WWE Hall of Fame on Sunday prior to Extreme Rules, where he addressed the locker room in the back and issued an apology.
Hogan has yet to make a public appearance with WWE since his reinstatement, but the news the company was bringing him back in the fold three years after severing ties with him following video of him using the N-word came out created plenty of conversation. Unsurprisingly, many have turned to the company’s African-American superstars for comment and their feelings on Hogan’s return.
Mark Henry said he was “optimistic” after his conversation with Hogan, but that Hogan still has more work to do. The New Day released a statement noting they were “indifferent” to Hogan’s return and that their mind could change if they see him “make a genuine effort to change.” Shortly after New Day’s statement, Titus O’Neil released a statement of his own on Twitter. O’Neil addressed the rumors he walked out of Extreme Rules and/or refused to shake Hogan’s hand, calling both false. He also echoed those sentiments from New Day’s statement, saying he was not satisfied by Hogan’s apology at Extreme Rules, “and it’s lack of true contrition, remorse and a desire to change.”
To my gracious fans and the WWE Universe.
The reports and rumors concerning my boycotting “Extreme Rules” in Pittsburgh is false and inaccurate. I was not scheduled to attend or be a participant in the “Extreme Rules” match/production and was otherwise not booked for the show.
The talent present in Pittsburgh, which I was a part of, was asked to attend a mandatory meeting in which Mr. Terry Bollea addressed everyone and informed the same that he would be reinstated into the WWE Hall of Fame. At no point during, after or otherwise did I make any scene concerning Mr. Bollea’s communication to the talent. In addition, let it be known that I did not refuse to shake Mr. Bollea’s hand; we did not have any type of one-on-one interaction whatsoever that would or did necessitate any exchange between us individually.
As to the reinstatement of Mr. Bollea, I can only communicate that I am a proponent of second and even third chances for individuals that show true remorse, acknowledgment of wrongdoing, fulfill their punishment, if applicable, and otherwise put forth sincere efforts to correct the issues.
Unfortunately, I must echo the sentiment and dissatisfaction expressed by many of my fellow contemporaries concerning Mr. Bollea’s apology and its lack of true contrition, remorse and a desire to change. Mr. Bollea’s apology “that he didn’t know he was being recorded” is not remorse for the hateful and violent utterances he made which reprise language that has caused violence against blacks and minorities for centuries.
I stand firm in my position that Mr. Bollea is entitled to reinstatement; he was and is a role model, hero and icon to countless people. I hope that Mr. Bollea’s missteps in communicating to the WWE talent in Pittsburgh are not repeated to his fans and I expect that he shall pursue an agenda that clearly communicates to all third parties that his language was inappropriate, wrong and should not be tolerated in a civilized and inclusive society.
As the father of two young black men, I have spent their entire life and the majority of my adult life with a singular focus; being a role model for my children and young black boys and girls. I take tremendous pride in my charity work and the community outreach programs that I have fostered via the platform I have been given. I teach my sons love and tolerance for everybody, but I also teach them to operate in truth and respect.
I hope this clears up any confusion. I, like New Day, will continue to use my platform to positively affect, entertain, embrace, celebrate and love people from all backgrounds both inside and outside of the WWE Universe.
Thaddeus Bullard aka WWE Superstar “Titus Oneil”
It’s clear that Hogan’s backstage apology in Pittsburgh did not land as all that sincere to much of the locker room and there will be skepticism about whether he genuinely understands what was so wrong about what he said. As O’Neil notes, saying he didn’t know he was being recorded is the worst possible excuse for his actions, and until he offers up more than that in the form of an apology his second chance with WWE will not be well received.