Following the latest controversy regarding resurfaced clips of Joe Rogan using a racial slur, former guests of "The Joe Rogan Experience" voiced their support to the besieged podcast host. On Sunday afternoon, retired U.S. Navy SEAL Jocko Willink delivered a well-crafted and powerful defense of Rogan.
Willink has been a guest on "The Joe Rogan Experience" five times, but none of his episodes were of the 113 episodes that Spotify deleted. Willink addressed the ongoing attempts to get Spotify to cancel Rogan's podcast in an Instagram video. Willink also discussed Rogan's positives and "mistakes." While talking about his "friend" Rogan, Willink urged people to avoid becoming a society of "judgment and destruction" at all costs.
"I wanted to take a minute to talk to you about my friend Joe and talk to you about something that's going on in the world that I don't think is very good for us," Willink opened his video address.
"So my friend Joe, well, he's a good guy," Willink said. "He's good in a bunch of different ways. He's a good athlete, kind of a meathead, I guess, like me, he cares about his health and he works out, stays in good shape. He knows how to fight. He's got a bunch of physical prowess, but he's also smart and he's curious and he reads a bunch and he talks to all different kinds of people all the time."
"And he's a very successful individual," the former Navy SEAL stated of the stand-up comedian. "He's made a bunch of money. He has some cool business ventures. He's been on some TV shows. And of course, he's a really funny guy. That's I think what he was first known for, for being funny, for being hilarious."
Willink noted, "But Joe can also be a serious guy. He can be introspective, and those are great qualities for a person to have."
"My friend Joe is smart and athletic and rich and articulate, and he's got a beautiful family, and he's got a pretty cool life," he continued. "It's pretty impressive."
"And he's always been cool to me. And he opened up his world and helped me out along the way," Willink explained. "And not just me, he's helped all kinds of people, all kinds of people from all kinds of different backgrounds. Because he's a nice guy; because he's a nice guy with a good heart."
"And I've known him for a long time," Willink said in the video. "I've known Joe before he was who he is, and I've seen him behind the scenes in normal situations. And he's just a genuinely nice guy with a good heart. And maybe that's why even with all of his success and all that he does for people, he's still humble."
"He's self-deprecating and modest, and he never asks for anything in return from me," Willink continued. "He's just a really good guy in a really good spot in life."
"He's the kind of guy that if you're not careful, you might become jealous of," Willink warned, but added, "But if you ever actually meet him, you'll realize that he's worked hard to get where he is, and he's thankful for his success, and he's thankful for the people that helped him along the way."
Willink admitted that Rogan isn't perfect, and said that he thinks that the prolific podcaster "probably drinks too much sometimes" and is "maybe a little more enthusiastic about psychedelic drugs than I would like him to be."
Willink – who served 20 years as a Navy SEAL and was honored with the Silver Star and Bronze Star Medal for his service – also admitted that Rogan "sometimes maybe does things or says things that he shouldn't say or shouldn't do."
"He, like any of us, has definitely said some things that he doesn't think he should have said. Things that upset people. Things that are offensive. Things that he said that he wished he could take back," he noted. "But when you speak words, you cannot take them back, especially when those spoken words are recorded. And much of what my friend Joe says is recorded. So he said some things that he wished he didn't say. So what did he do? How did he handle it?"
Willink talked about Rogan's apology for the recent compilation video of Rogan saying the n-word, which the UFC commentator said the clips were taken "out of context" from "12 years of conversations."
"He said he was sorry," Willink said of Rogan. "He didn't make any excuses. He didn't dig in and go on the attack. He didn't point out all the other people who have said all kinds of other offensive things that they shouldn't have said. He didn't do that."
"Most impressive, he didn't bring up or talk about the countless examples in his own life that show the type of person he really is," he said. "And that is a generous guy, a caring guy, a thoughtful, kind, warmhearted, father, husband, and friend."
"He didn't point out any of that. Instead, he simply said, 'I was wrong. I'm sorry.'"
Willink asked, "So what do we do with that?"
"I can tell you that some people are not accepting that apology," he acknowledged. "And I get that that's their right. No one has to accept an apology."
Then Willink gave a stern warning about a society that is not forgiving.
"But that does concern me. It concerns me to think that we live in a country or we live in a world where we can't forgive someone," Willink declared. "We can't forgive someone who's genuinely a nice guy, a nice human being for something that they said. Something that they apologize for saying. No, in this day and age, it seems that we don't forgive."
An impassioned Willink proclaimed, "Instead, we sit and we judge. We judge others. That's what we seem to do now."
"But I want to tell you that I think we should be careful with that attitude, because when we judge others, oftentimes we seem to forget about ourselves being judged," he cautioned. "We forget about our own shortfalls. Like Joe, we are not perfect. I am not perfect. No one is perfect."
"We do things and we say things that we regret," Willink pointed out. "We miss the mark. We make emotional comments. We lash out when we shouldn't have. We see things the wrong way or we don't understand them correctly. We make mistakes. We all make mistakes."
"But if we have entered a world now where there's no mercy, there's no understanding," Willink articulated. "If we've entered a world now where there's no forgiveness, where there's only judgment and destruction, well, that does not bode well for any of us, because that judgment and that destruction will eventually visit upon your door."
"So I've got an idea, and it's actually an ancient idea," he proposed. "While, of course, we should try as people to be better and do better, let us also remember that we aren't perfect. When we make a mistake, let's own it, but also we need to remember that no one else is perfect either."
"Let's remember that we need to understand others, we need to forgive others, and then let's hope that they can forgive us as well," he continued.
"Because without forgiveness, there's only judgment and devastation. Without forgiveness, there's only hostility. Without forgiveness, there's only anger. And life is hard enough without all that."
"So instead, let's help each other," he said. "Let's practice forgiveness. Let's lift each other up instead of tearing each other down."
Willink then pivoted back to Joe Rogan, and said, "Some people have been trying to tear him down and shut him up for a long time."
I will keep listening, I will keep listening not because he's perfect, not because he's flawless, not because he's right about everything. But actually, because he's not. He's not perfect. He's not flawless. And he's not right about everything. He makes mistakes. He's a person. He's a human being like me. And like me, he's trying to learn, he's trying to grow. Hes trying to be better. And like me, he's failing sometimes along the way. He's made mistakes. And he will make more mistakes, and I will forgive him. And I know he will inevitably forgive me when I mess something up myself. And that's what friends do. And I'm thinking, that maybe, that's what we all should do. Less judgment and more forgiveness. I think it will make the world a better place.