After Hulk Hogan's racist remarks and subsequent apology, Titus O'Neil wasn't bashful about expressing his displeasure with Hogan's apology. He didn't feel Hogan was genuine with the words he chose as Hogan seemed to imply that he was the victim by saying he didn't know he was being recorded.
Fast forward a year later and Titus and Hogan actually got to work together at a Be A Star rally. Not only did they work together, but they had a private conversation which Titus talked about when he spoke to Wrestling Inc. on our WINCLY podcast.
"It was fine and I finally had a chance to have a separate conversation with Hulk. Obviously, I had put out a statement about the apology and how I received it and how others might have received it too. But I had a private conversation with him long before the Be A Star Rally and heard from his perspective," said Titus. "At that moment I realized the situation he was in where he clammed up and started rambling. He could have been more concise and contrite with his message. But at the end of the day, I'm not one to put anybody in a doghouse forever. I'm not saying he was in the doghouse with me, but I like for men to be men and women to be women and both be transparent, truthful and honest with me.
"At the end of the day, we're part of this WWE family and our job is to put smiles on people's faces. Arguably he's put more smiles on anybody's face, young and old, than any other WWE Superstar in the history of the company."
Titus then talked about getting to have that conversation with Hogan and then doing that rally and getting to watch him apply what he learned from his horrible choice of words.
"He's used this as a teaching tool and at the end of the day that's what we all need to do from any mistake we've made – use it as a teaching tool," stated Titus.
Titus was then asked if he feels he has affected WWE's treatment of sensitive issues like race.
"I'd like to think that I have shared some of the company's growth in what we do. I think they value my opinion in a high regard because I'm actually out there and doing the work. I'm not saying, 'We should do this. We should do that.' I'm out doing the work and doing it at a high level," said Titus.
"The company has made dramatic changes with our approach. We've been much more aggressive especially in the last 10 years in getting ingrained in the communities we go into. It's not just at WrestleMania and SummerSlam, it's at live events, non-TV events, and pay-per-views. Our partnerships have grown because of that so people see the power in not only bringing awareness to their causes, but also to how we generally use our platform to make this world a better place."
Titus also recently published a book called There's No Such Thing As A Bad Kid and he talked about why now is the right time to come out with this book.
"Just because I've had so many people say you should write a book. With today's climate and how people are consistently putting our kids in a box and saying what they can and can't do, I just wanted to put out a message of my story and my motivation as to why I do what I do," said Titus. "It's not just for young people but for all people."
Titus' new book "There's No Such Thing As A Bad Kid: How I Went From Stereotype To Prototype" is out now. To purchase it via Amazon, click here.
Titus' full interview with Wrestling Inc. aired as part of today's episode of our WINCLY podcast. It can be heard via the embedded audio player at the bottom of this post.