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Ric Flair received death threats, won't attend 49ers-Panthers game

By Ryan Wilson | CBSSports.com

Ric Flair won't attend the Panthers' playoff game. (USATSI)
Ric Flair won't attend the 49ers-Panthers playoff game. (YouTube)

More NFL: Coaching change tracker | Playoff Bracket

Last Saturday, Ric Flair made a surprise appearance at the 49ers' hotel ahead of their wild-card matchup with the Packers. Not only did we get to see vintage Nature Boy but 49ers tackle Anthony Davis even managed to sneak in a shot at Appleton, Wisc.

But Panthers wideout Steve Smith was unimpressed by Flair, who is extremely popular in the Carolinas, and his decision to give the 49ers a pre-game pep talk.

“As a guy who actually has a Ric Flair robe I'm real disappointed in seeing that," Smith told the Charlotte Observer.

"Real disappointed. I'm not sure if he'll (Flair) get the invite here. That Golden Gate Bridge has been burned.”

It gets worse. Via Flair's representatives (by way of Sporting News):

A long time Carolina Panthers fan, Ric Flair created quite the stir when WWE sent him to Green Bay, WI January 5th to give the San Francisco 49ers an unexpected locker room pep talk. WWE is hosting WrestleMania XXXI in SanFrancisco in 2015. Now many are asking: Will Flair attend the January 12th playoff game in Carolina as they host San Francisco? And if so, which team will he support?

“When the 49ers reached out and WWE asked Ric to jet up there, of course he said yes,” says 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!” added Flair.

"The 49er pep talk, which instantly went viral, caused many Carolina fans to voice their feelings of anger and betrayal on social media -- some even offering death threats to Flair. 'We know fans are passionate about their teams, but some of the choice language we have been receiving is scaring off our interns,' says Melinda Morris Zanoni, Flair's agent at Legacy Talent and Entertainment.

As for whether Flair's trademark "WOOOO" will be banned from the Panthers sideline, Smith said “We'll discuss it. We'll have to have an executive meeting.”

Meanwhile, cornerback Captain Munnerlyn was slightly more practical about the whole thing.

“It's not about Ric Flair, it's not about wrestling," he said. "It's about playing football Sunday at 1:05.”

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