Ric Flair’s visit with the San Francisco 49ers may have ruffled a few feathers, specifically those in his longtime home of Charlotte, N.C.
Flair visited with the 49ers the night before their NFC Wild Card playoff tilt against the Green Bay Packers. He talked about the honor of being in their presence and even pledged his allegiance with the team throughout the playoffs.
The 49ers used that extra motivation to defeat the Packers, 23-20, in frigid Lambeau Field.
This is where the problems begin.
By virtue of their victory, the 49ers advanced to the NFC Divisional playoffs to face the Carolina Panthers, who play in Charlotte.
Flair made a name for himself in the wrestling industry by headlining shows up and down the Mid-Atlantic territory, mainly in the Carolinas. Flair headlined shows numerous shows in the Greensboro Coliseum as the NWA World Heavyweight Champion and once considered Charlotte home.
Panthers wide receiver Steve Smith, who bought one of Flair’s illustrious robes at a charity auction, took offense to Flair essentially turning his back on the team he used to hold season tickets to.
“As a guy who actually has a Ric Flair robe I’m real disappointed in seeing that. Real disappointed,” Smith told the Charlotte Observer.
Flair’s robes used to cost him upwards of $7,000 back in the day. There’s no telling how much Smith spent to have one recently.
Flair was apparently very close friends with Smith along with Panthers quarterback Cam Newton. The team even used Flair’s trademark “Wooooo!” on the scoreboard during home games at one point.
According to Smith, those days are a thing of the past.
“I’m not sure if he’ll (Flair) get the invite here. That Golden Gate Bridge has been burned,” Smith added.
Panthers cornerback Captain Munnerlyn took the visit a little less hard than Smith.
“I’m sure they gave him a little money,” Munnerlyn said. “But, no, I don’t feel betrayed. We said the chant and they (the 49ers) brought him in. At the end of the day it’s a football game going to be played.”
“It’s not about Ric Flair,” Munnerlyn added. “It’s about playing football Sunday at 1:05.”
[h/t to NFL.com for the find]