The WWE isn’t exactly the classiest organization in the world. One of the easiest ways to get a crowd to turn on a wrestler who’s supposed to be the bad guy is to have that wrestler insult something the local crowd loves. Usually it’s the city the event is taking place in and sometimes it’s a popular sports team.
When a bad guy (“heel,” in wrestling terms) really has to get the crowd to hate him, the WWE will occasionally have him desecrate a flag. Vince McMahon and company have pulled this stunt with both the American and Canadian flags, without anyone becoming too upset.
They won’t be pulling that stunt in Brazil ever again, however.
At a live WWE event that took place last night in Brazil, WWE star Chris Jericho crumpled up a Brazilian flag, kicked it out of the ring and then was promptly arrested for doing it. The arrest was very real (WWE officials have confirmed that it was not a stunt) and it basically brought the live show to halt.
Here’s video of the whole thing:
Desecrating the flag is a crime in Brazil–one that can lead to jail time. The police decided to let Jericho off easy, however, saying that he would be released if he just apologized to the crowd. Unsurprisingly, Jericho was more than willing to beg for forgiveness from the crowd.
Video of the apology:
Now, in a move that reeks of damage control, the WWE has released a statement announcing that Jericho has been suspended:
“Chris Jericho has been suspended indefinitely due to an irresponsible act of denigrating the Brazilian flag at a WWE event in Sao Paulo on May 24. The WWE has apologized to the citizens and the government of Brazil for this incident.”