Since pledging his support for the San Francisco 49ers during a paid pep talk prior to their playoff win over the Green Bay Packers last week, pro wrestler Ric Flair issued a statement through his publicist saying he won't attend the playoff game against the 49ers this weekend.
A former Charlotte resident, Flair angered Panthers players with his animated speech to the 49ers, saying his “heart is with the 49ers all the way to the end.”
“When the 49ers reached out and WWE asked Ric to jet up there, of course he said yes,” said Melinda Morris Zanoni, Flair’s agent at Legacy Talent and Entertainment, “and he’s friends with a bunch of the 49ers just like he is with the Panthers, Packers, and many other NFL players. But no, Ric does not intend on attending the Panthers vs. 49ers game this weekend.”
“What can I say? I’ve always been a very good heel!” Flair said.
His publicist said Flair has received death threats from Panthers fans.
“We know fans are passionate about their teams, but some of the choice language we have been receiving is scaring off our interns,” Zanoni said.
“I'm not sure if he'll get the invite here,” wide receiver Steve Smith told The Charlotte Observer. “That Golden Gate Bridge has been burned.”
Added Panthers coach Ron Rivera: “”Ric's a good man, I'm excited he's friends with both of us. I'm serious. Ric's a good dude. I've met him a couple of times and appreciated our conversations. To me, it's not that big a deal to me. I get it. I understand. The best part is Ric doesn't dress up and get on the field.”
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Aaron Wilson covers the Ravens for The Baltimore Sun.