WWE legend Stone Cold Steve Austin has today weighed in on the possibility of Hulk Hogan ever returning to the WWE.
Speaking in a phone interview with TMZ, the Texas Rattlesnake stated that, while it may be difficult for the organization to forget the racism storm Hogan found himself in in mid-2015, he does believe his fellow veteran wrestler can be forgiven.
Hogan has been blackballed by the WWE since audio footage of him making racist comments became public some nine months ago, although speculation about a return has never been too far away.
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"Hulk Hogan’s had a tremendous run. He got into, y’know, some issues," Austin told TMZ, via UpRoxx. "Maybe in time when all that washes away he’ll make a comeback.
"He’s the one who’s gotta weather the storm, you know, since it is a public company now. How soon or how long does it take for something like that to be forgotten, let alone just forgiven? You can never forget it, but can you forgive it? Yes. We’ll see what happens. I’ll leave that to them."
Hogan was fired by the WWE on July 24, 2015 when transcripts of his now infamous sex tape with Heather Clem were leaked, showing he had used numerous racist and homophobic slurs.
As you might expect, the revelation saw many fans and fellow wrestlers distance themselves from Hogan, and he has remained on the outside looking in at the WWE ever since.
Only recently, Bret Hart vented his anger towards Hogan and labelled him a racist and, in his comments above, Stone Cold wasn't exactly willing to let him off the hook even if he thinks the door to a return remains open.
The question, then, remains whether the powers that be at the WWE are willing to take the risk of reintroducing Hogan into the company.
There is no doubt the 62-year-old retains a certain amount of pulling power, and with the WWE currently taking criticism on several fronts, they could do with a high-profile figure making his mark.
Using Hogan to do that, however, would be a divisive move. His degrading comments mean he will never be forgiven by a large majority of the public.
Hogan himself has spoken of his desire to return to the business and has been boosted recently after winning a multi-million dollar court case concerning the sex tape that has landed him in trouble.
The veteran star was awarded $144 million in damages from Gawker, the site who originally published the footage.
WWE fans: Should the WWE let Hogan return? Have your say in the comments below...