Goldstein On Rasslin’: Hulk Hogan – What Do You Do When It’s Your Hero?

For the first time I ever can remember, I thought more about Terry Bollea this week, than Hulk Hogan. I’ve been Hulkamaniac since I was seven years old. That’s 30 years of devotion to the persona that hooked me as a wrestling fan from the beginning. From the moment I watched Paul “Mr. Wonderful” Orndorff turn on the Hulkster to side with the Heenan Family on WWF Superstars in 1986 until late last week, the character of “Hulk Hogan” has been ever-present in my life.

As a child I trick-or-treated on multiple Halloween nights decked out in the signature red and yellow. As a teen an entire scene in my summer camp play was specifically written, just for me, so I could recreate Hulk’s signature ring entrance and pose down in front of the entire camp. (All 90 pounds of me and my four-inch pythons) As a professional in the entertainment business, my undeniable fandom led to a recurring role on the morning show I was producing at the time as the character, “Lil’ Hulkster” – even getting to do my signature “Hulk” entrance for Hulk himself one morning. And even as I write this now instead of the TV show I’m supposed to be writing at the moment, I sit at my computer, staring at a poster of “Hulkamania” that has followed me from office to office throughout my career.

goldstein-hogan

But then came last Friday when we all woke up to the news that WWE had severed all ties to their quintessential superstar for uttering multiple racial slurs during a portion of the now well-publicized sex tape he unknowingly starred in. And now for the first time in my lifetime, Terry Bollea is forefront in my mind instead of the character he so iconically embodied for close to four decades.

We’ve seen so many of our heroes fall from grace – especially during this, the golden age of “gotcha” journalism. From Cosby to Kramer, Michael Jackson to Mike Tyson, Lance Armstrong to Michael Vick… the list multiplies seemingly every day and for different offenses. But what do you do when it’s YOUR hero? What do you do when it’s the guy on the poster on your wall that lets you down? What do you do when the arms behind the curtain, pulling the strings to your own, personal superhero all these years turn out to be 24 inches in diameter – and not very super at all? Do you burn the whole pedestal to the ground? Do you walk away, join the angry mob and leave the wreckage behind or do you stick around to search the debris for something salvageable? Truth is, I have no idea what any of the answers are right now but these are all questions I’ve asked myself over the past few days in an effort to carve out some, small sliver of acceptability so that I can go back to idolizing my hero.

Was it an isolated incident during an admitted “rock-bottom” period in his life when he allegedly contemplated suicide? Or maybe he really, truly feels such a horrible, hateful way about black people? Or maybe it’s somewhere in the middle, clouded between circumstance and innate human prejudice? Either way, I feel stuck between my heart which is full of forgiveness and loyalty to someone who’s brought me nothing but sheer joy in my life… and my brain which can’t wrap itself around the painful truth of the matter. It just doesn’t compute to take a man who has devoted 100% of his public life to putting smiles on every color of face there is on the planet… and write him off until the end of time because of something devastatingly hurtful and stupid that he did in his personal life.

And that’s why I can’t stop thinking about Terry Bollea, the man. Because that’s who did this: The man, not the myth. And that’s who I ultimately have to find a way to forgive. Problem is, I don’t know anything about Terry Bollea. He’s not the guy I dressed up as for Halloween. He’s not the guy I impersonated in front of my fellow campers at Camp Ramah in the Poconos. He’s not the guy I fanatically paid tribute to on national TV. And he’s not the guy I’ve cheered for and idolized every day for the past 30 years . But is he the guy that transcript makes him out to be? Or is he at all, anything like the hero he portrayed? Behind the headbands and boas and tie-died tights, if Terry Bollea ever decides to step out from behind his make-believe red and yellow curtain, and reveal his true self, what kind of man will we find? All I can do is hope that it’s someone I can believe in again.



Post your thoughts, opinions, feedback and comments below.

About Andrew Goldstein: Andrew is a former WWE creative writer who is now a morning TV producer and comedy writer.

  • Brad Evers

    All I can say to this is all of this racism crap is getting ALOT out of hand. From what I remember is the comments weren’t directed to anybody right to there face and if they were all the better, because at least he wasn’t hiding them. Now for the character of Hulk Hogan, Vince screwed him so bad because of this. One by taking him out of the HOF, why? He deserved to be there and still does and none of this should’ve effected that PERIOD. Another taking him out of the new video game. All of these decisions made recently by Vince and the board of directors are all bogus. Did they even talk to Hogan before they did any of this, more then likely not. They just jumped the gun and ended a wrestlers much deserved status in the business by pulling the Hulkster out of the WWE Hall of Fame. That my friends is a low blow not only to Hulk Hogan, but also to the man who played that character Terry Boella. Hall of Fame status is something that is earned by all of the years of hard work he put into his career as a WWE, WWF, AWA, WCW & ETC… not for him to be inducted and then withdrawn from it as soon as something like this happens. He deserved his spot in the WWE Hall of Fame. In all and all it’s sad when you hear some blacks say that this racist crap is getting out of hand. I thought America was the land of the free??? freedom of speech??? I guess not.

    • tkthetank

      Agreed.

    • Hakeem Rasta Kates

      Wow ok this just sounds ridiculous. If you worked at a job and you were saying racist stuff. Should you still have the job? No. There’s a fine line between freedom of speech and being disrespectful and ignorant. Are you seriously gonna condone this? If he was saying homophobic shit would you still be saying it’s freedom of speech? Smh. It was ignorant as hell

      • john_86032

        Your ass probably says the word multiple times a day. If black people are going to continue to use it as their everyday vocabulary then there is no reason why a white person can’t. The fact that blacks think it’s ok for them but not for white people is racist in and of itself.

        • Barry Horowitz

          No reason a white person can’t use the N word? Slavery, oppression and prejudice all say hello.

          I do agree the word would be used less if it wasn’t used so loosely by black people.

          • john_86032

            First off i could give 2 shits about hogan, 2nd, if you have never used the word as you say, then good for you. And it was wrong for me to assume. My bad. And 3rd, dont even try to ignore that that blacks throwing the word around like candy isn’t the biggest problem with it. I don’t care to use the word. Doesn’t fit my language. But i am sick and tired of blacks being racist amd no one having a problem with it. It’s always the whites that are the racist. And Barry, a quick history lesson would teach you blacks were just as guilty at having slaves as whites. In fact, blacks introduced slavery to white americans as it was very common in Africa. The white male in this country is becoming the minority and anything they do now becomes about race.

          • Hakeem Rasta Kates

            Well yeah I have called out some blacks that have said racist shit too on youtube. I hate racism period don’t care who its against

        • Hakeem Rasta Kates

          Lmao I never used the term before you delusional jackass do don’t act like you know me based off of an assumption. And you trying to shed light on Hogan using er at the end compared to what blacks say with a at the end is so incomparable. And I never said it was ok for blacks to say it either so once again you making assumptions again. And do you know every black person on earth? No so shut your little racist ass up. Come down to earth for once and look at the bigger picture. The fact that SOME of you whites think it’s ok to say anything and say something just because of what someone else says is so laughable. Didn’t your mom teach you when you were a child not to imitate what you see or what you see on tv? Smh. You’re just a blind Hulkamaniac that is so ignorant and just because his so called “idol” got caught in what he was doing, it broke your heart and now you’re kissing Hogan’s ass like you’re one of his guardian angels. Why don’t you go call life partner.com so you be his friend till the end? Lmao you Hogan fans are so delusional. Not any better than these stupid immature dick riding John Cena fans that we gotta deal with every Monday night. Better yet why don’t you go join the asslickingsociety.com smh

      • Brad Evers

        I never said once in that comment that I condoned what Hogan said. All I said was that this racist crap is getting out of hand. maybe Hogan did deserve to get fired, but he sure as hell didn’t deserve to be pulled from his life’s accomplishments (HOF Status.) As I read down the comments here I also see how people are saying that it doesn’t help with the black people saying the N-word loosely, how true is that??? It’s very true and as far as using the “A” or “ER” at the end doesn’t define the word. Also I’m far from being racist, my 2nd wife was black and we had a daughter together. I can’t stand hearing that N-word and as far as being homophobic damn straight I am. I was taken advantage of when I was very young by a queer so I have huge issues with queers.

    • Macrixen

      Except he only cared about his career, not the business. Never liked to help put over any new talent and refused to step out of the top. He is a glory hound that screwed up. Yes he had a long career, but as it is partly his inability to let go of the spotlight that killed wcw. I do agree that he should not be erased from history like that, but business is business. As far as freedom of speech goes, yeah you can say what you want, but you have to then accept any consequences as a result.

    • Punished “Venom” Snake

      “weren’t directed to anybody right to their face”? he clearly said hes a racist and all of us are a “little racist”, adding the N-word, with that, even a retard will assume hes directing those words to black people.

      You can write 100 page books to excuse what Hogan said, hes Benoited.

  • CMP

    Yet Ultimate Warrior is in the HoF and WWE embraces the guy on a daily basis and he was a homophobic jackass.

    • Hakeem Rasta Kates

      Are you trying to imply that being homophobic is worse than being racist?

      • Sikratua

        Are you trying to imply that homophobia is somehow less obscene? Personally, I find them equally repulsive.

        • Hakeem Rasta Kates

          No I never said that and wasn’t implying that but I hate how the double standards come to play when someone is being “homophobic” it’s a problem but when someone is being racist the same people that hated when “homophobic” remarks were being made, didn’t think racist remarks were bad.

  • john_86032

    If black people don’t want white people saying it then they need to stop using the word themselves. The hypocrisy of blacks is out of control.

  • Jefferson

    Jeff Jarrett’s Global Force Wrestling will welcome Hulk Hogan with open arms. WATCHA GONNA DO GLOBAL FORCE WRESTLING, WHEN HULKAMANIA RUNS WILD ON YOU?

    • Dynamite Kid

      I think the WWE will reconsider to put back Hulk Hogan in the HOF by popular demands of their worldwide fans…it s just a question of time…don t forget, the WWE wants to open HOF building in Florida…By the way everybody forgot…why the WWE sign Hogan back in 2014 when the WWE knew his sex tape scandale wasn t settle …it s to Vince to tell Hogan settle your sex scandal and when everything is clean come back to me…if you make sex tape or porn movie with explicit words…you re block for life from the WWE…like chyna and hogan

  • Hulkamania

    In today’s society, especially right now, the media and the government are trying very hard to divide and conquer. What better way to do that, but to cause major racial tension by taking advantage of any little thing. For some reason, they are using this tactic on black people, while white people who are targeted for racist hate crimes go unnoticed and not reported… and it makes sense why they are doing that.. because its pissing both off. This Hogan situation is no difference. He’s a white guy that got caught fooling around with his buddy, saying things he doesn’t even mean, we all do that with friends and family, and now its becoming a big thing on the media… trying to stir up more racial tension for no reason.

    • Hakeem Rasta Kates

      Well that’s a pretty damn good point. They definitely were trying to start a race war because of the fact that this was so long ago

      • Hulkamania

        any little thing man, they want to start problems between us.

  • Brie Wyatt

    I won’t be offended if someone called me “nigger”.