WWE News: JBL says Hogan would be welcomed back
JBL said that Hogan had already been "punished severely" for his racist remarks.
John “Bradshaw” Layfield is on record supporting a return for Hulk Hogan to the WWE ranks in some capacty.
As previously reported by Wrestling Inc. and others, JBL made his stance clear as part of a recent episode of “Bring it to the Table.” WWE personality Paul Heyman also appeared on the show but said that it would be up to Vince McMahon when Hogan can return.
Here’s what JBL had to say:
"I think we will [see Hogan back with WWE] and his comments were past inappropriate. I think they were detestable and I abhor what he said and I condemn what he said. I run a program founded years ago in Bermuda with at-risk kids and I took those kids to NXT and watched Tough Enough. Hogan had a terrible back at the time and he got up, but he brought all those kids up on stage. [It] absolutely made a life moment for those kids. That's what you hear so much about Hogan. What happened on this tape, I think, it was horrible. I think it was, I can't say if it was a one-off or not, but he was punished. He was punished and he was punished severely. He's going to be hounded about that tape the rest of his life and I think that's enough. I think he's an icon and I think he's welcome back. I would like to see him back at the WWE."
In case you didn’t know...
Hogan has been out of the WWE’s good graces since a sex tape was released by Gawker that included Hogan making racist remarks. He even used the “N-word” regarding his daughter, Brooke, dating a black man.
That led WWE to remove him from programming like “Tough Enough,” and he is also no longer listed in the Hall of Fame section on the WWE website. A 2005 Hall of Fame inductee, Hogan was awarded more than $100 million in a defamation lawsuit against Gawker and later settled for about $31 million.
The heart of the matter
JBL has a fairly balanced viewpoint on this, whether that’s completely because of his personal views or because he’s been coached as one of the voices of the company. Whether or not it’s true that Hogan has truly been punished as much as he should be, JBL made it perfectly clear that he didn't support what Hogan said in any way.
Particularly with WrestleMania 33 in Florida quickly approaching, we’ll continue to see speculation as to whether or not Hogan will return in the near future. While his name was something of a dirty word for several months, he’s been mentioned on the air by the announce team recently.
As these rumors persist, McMahon and the WWE will be forced to either bring back the multi-time champion and pro wrestling icon or make a more firm stance on his departure.
Hogan will be back in some form or fashion.
Perhaps he won’t be back in the fold at WrestleMania 33 or even this year, but his star simply shines too brightly in the wrestling world to keep him away. Current superstars grew up watching him, and too many hallmark moments in WWE history involve him for the company to continue ignoring his existence.
That said, to suggest he’s been punished enough for his remarks is a little silly, quite honestly. He made millions of dollars in a lawsuit regarding a sex tape that included his racist remarks. Those remarks didn’t reflect a slip of the tongue, but rather a mindset that the WWE should work to distance itself from.
A suitable solution might be to resume mentioning him on WWE programming and listing him as a Hall of Famer, even perhaps inviting him to events like the Hall of Fame induction ceremony. But to bring Hogan back in an on-screen role is unacceptable if the company wants to send the message that racism won’t be tolerated.