By Ariana Bacle
Updated September 02, 2015 at 05:56 PM EDT
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Audio of Hulk Hogan saying the N-word and other racist statements surfaced earlier this summer, causing WWE to terminate their contract with the wrestler. Hogan has since publicly apologized and asked for forgiveness, and he spoke with People recently to further explain his behavior.

“We are all products of our environment,” Hogan, who grew up in Tampa, Florida, told People. “If you lived in South Tampa then, you greeted your friends with the N-word, or if you were mad at your friends, you used the N-word. It was a part of my daily environment.

“When you inherit something that is passed on generation to generation to generation, it becomes a practice,” he went on. “You have to be aware of it. I realized this behavior and this type of verbiage is unacceptable. So for me to digress and say something so foul is devastating.”

Added Hogan, “behind this dark cloud is going to be this huge shiny lesson.” Read more over at People.

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