“I’m a good person,” Hogan told PEOPLE during a sit-down interview on Friday. “I’m not a racist. I made one horrible mistake.”
The mistake Hogan referenced happened eight years ago when he used offensive language about his daughter Brooke’s love life.
Hogan was wiped from the World Wrestling Entertainment’s Hall of Fame last month after the use of using the “n-word” came to light. WWE also says it fired him, though Hogan and his reps maintain he resigned.
“My anger was directed towards Brooke,” he says. “It wasn’t a racial slur against him. If anyone was going to kick me to the curb or have nothing to do with me, it would be my daughter.”
But instead, Hogan was amazed that what happened was the exact opposite.
“She came to me with nothing but love and said, ‘Dad, I love you so much,’ ” he says, tearing up.
He then spoke to his son Nick and wife Jennifer and realized that he had his family by his side.
“I said, ‘Okay, now I have my strength and I am going to take this head on. Since then, we have all been together.’ ”
Hogan blamed his language on growing up in a place where racist slurs were part of his environment.
“When I grew up, it was something that was inherited generation after generation,” he says. “That was part of my daily environment.”
Brooke, a budding country singer who recently released a new single “Girlfriend,” told PEOPLE that her father is a great dad.
“I know who he is as a man and a father and he is not a racist,” she says. “He is a man who always means well. He’s so jovial and kind.”
She says he is dad who “cries at the Lion King, baby talks to his teacup Chihuahus, He can grill like nobody’s business and he watches the sunset every night.”
He’s “always happy” and is a “killer bassist.”
But most importantly, he’s there for her no matter what.
“No matter what was happening with life, if you call, he answers.”
A New Beginning
Hogan says that now that this burden is off his shoulders it’s the best time of his life.
“Behind this dark cloud is going to be this huge shiny blessing and I’m going to get help people with this,” he says. “I get to explain to them that even in the locker room when you’re talking smack, it’s not cool. I would love to see it taken out of the dictionary.”
This experience has taught Hogan who his true friends are.
“What I have learned is that I’ve got this huge built in support system with all the people that have known me, watched me and worked with me,” he says. “They know that just this one instance is not who I am.”