Wrestling legend Hulk Hogan asked the public for forgiveness Monday morning, after the controversy over an 8-year-old audio recording in which he used a highly volatile racial epithet.
"I'm not a racist, but I never should have said what I said. It was wrong. I'm embarrassed by it," Hogan, 62, told ABC News' Amy Robach on "Good Morning America."
Hogan, born Terry Bollea in Augusta, Georgia, and raised in Florida, said, growing up in the South contributed to the casual use of the term.
He asked his fans for understanding. "Oh, my gosh. Please forgive me. Please forgive me," he said. "I think if you look at the whole picture of who Hulk Hogan is, you can see over all the years that there's not a racist bone in my body. . . . I'm a nice guy. It's not, you know, not the Hulk Hogan that rips a shirt off and bang, bang, bang, slams giants, you know? I'm Terry Bollea," he said.
Following release of the audio's transcript in July, Hogan was removed from the WWE website's Hall of Fame. The pro-wrestling organization said it fired him, but Hogan's representatives told People magazine Friday that he had resigned.