Pro wrestling legend Hulk Hogan says the sport has moved on from the way it used to view wrestlers and that openly gay competitors would be embraced, not shunned.
"I think everybody's been reeducated, so it's not that big a deal," said Hogan when asked by the Huffington Post about the spate of professional athletes, including World Wrestling Entertainment superstar Darren Young, who have come out in recent years.
"At least for me -- and I can only speak from my heart -- I've got people all around me who are gay, so it's not an issue with me," shared Hogan during an in-person meeting at the new Santa Clara, California-based Levi's Stadium, which will house WrestleMania 31 next March 29. "I think the whole world feels like that now."
Hogan remembers the heels in wrestling's past, which included overly effeminate, i.e. gay, wrestlers who were the bad guys He also discussed other stereotypes used for years ago and added that things have changed. "That barbaric mindset we inherited is not a set piece in people's minds."
Hogan is also good friends with another wrestling legend, Pat Patterson, who had been out for years but came out publicly earlier this year. He also said something that was beautiful and articulate about Patterson.
"Back when Pat was wrestling, he was afraid to be who he really is -- or was meant to be -- because of all this stuff he inherited from society," he explained, "'You're supposed to be this tough wrestler.' 'You're supposed to be this good-looking, platinum blonde champion who goes out and dates the best looking women.' 'You're supposed to be this.' 'You're supposed to be that.' "
"But that's not true!" Hogan concluded emphatically, "Pat Patterson is supposed to be who he's meant to be, not who people think he should be, if that makes any sense."
I know many people scoff at pro wrestling since the matches are staged for entertainment purposes, but millions of people follow the events and how wrestlers are portrayed do have an impact. People like Hulk Hogan can change minds and I applaud what he said.