Ric Flair Is Bringing Carolina Hurricanes Fans Down

Adam GregoryContributor IApril 24, 2009

EAST DUBLIN, GA - JULY 9:  Dreama Asbury sports a redneck tattoo and pin during the 10th annual Redneck Games July 9, 2005 in East Dublin, Georgia. The games, which began 10 years ago in response to the 1996 Olympic Games in Atlanta, draw thousands of rednecks from around the world.  (Photo by Barry Williams/Getty Images)

Professional wrestling: It’s sad.

Grown men in spandex, whose heads make Barry Bonds' head look diminutive, groping and flailing at each other in a “match” with a predetermined outcome.

Grown men sporting mullets, cheering, and getting angry at the “bad guy,” who taunts them in a "hardcore" tone that always sounds a lot to me like the vocal stylings of Trey Parker.

Chris Benoit.

People who think this shit is real.

It’s just scary for most of us, right?

Don't get me wrong—I'm not trying to dissuade any wrestling fans from watching what they want to watch. I'm not trying to get into some holier-than-thou rant about how wrestling fans are idiots.

That's just common sense.

What really puts me off, however, is the fact that Ric Flair graces the Jumbotron at the RBC Center every time the Carolina Hurricanes score a goal.  

Hey, I get it—wrestling is big in Flair’s home state of North Carolina, and I guess Flair was “good at it.”

But Carolina is an otherwise upstanding organization. I’m a Devils fan, but I respect the Hurricanes a lot.

They've got a great goaltender, a team-first mentality, a classy coach, and a prudent general manager.  In fact, they remind me a lot of the Devils for just those reasons.

They’re just three seasons removed from a Stanley Cup Championship and, on the ice, they’ve commanded the respect of the NHL.

So can someone tell me why, for the love of God, they have a 'roided-up, spandex bikini-wearing meathead leading the crowd in the most eloquent of goal celebrations: A good ol' rebel hootin'-and-a-hollerin' “Wooooooo”?

The NHL is struggling to shed the stereotype of being a “second-class sport” in America.

ESPN pokes fun at itself when it plays the obligatory hockey highlight. The sport is never discussed thoroughly on PTI or Around the Horn. Hockey has been made by the American media to seem like a silly Canadian novelty game.

Those who understand the game, however, know how epic it truly is.  I've always contended that if you’re to turn somebody on to the NHL, you’ll create a fan for life.

So, in the interest of casting the game we love in a positive light—and helping people take hockey seriously—can we please keep professional wrestling as far away from the NHL as possible?

I implore you, 'Caniacs: Disown your scoreboard goal celebration and ask for a new one.  How about a Hurricane sound effect, or maybe a “Storm siren,” or any form of celebration other than letting loose a hillbilly battle cry in unison with a washed-up, thong-wearing former actor with shrunken testicles.

Luckily for all of us, we won't be hearing it for very much longer.  If Martin Brodeur puts on another performance like his 44-save effort in Thursday’s 1-0 win over the ‘Canes, we won't hear it until next season.

That leaves you plenty of time to come up with a respectable method of celebrating your 2009-‘10 goals, without belittling your team, or the sport that all you Tar Heels are growing to know and love.

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