If you are a college football fan, you’ve probably been looking forward to this weekend for quite some time.
The past couple of days have been jam-packed with great matchups, and there’s even more football left to finish out the Labor Day weekend. One of those games that kicked off yesterday was a rivalry game between UNC and South Carolina, and a country music star actually happened to play a pretty big role in it.
Even though Eric Church went to Appalachian State (which is located in North Carolina), he’s often showed his support for the “big” school of the state that sports the recognizable “Carolina Blue.” Yesterday, the Chief showed up to the game against UNC’s rival, and even acted as an honorary captain for the Tarheels.
When he walked out on the field, he was wearing that a uniform matching the team, but the number he chose was actually very significant. Number 9 is worn by UNC wide receiver Devontez “Tez” Walker, who actually couldn’t play in the game because the NCAA told him that he’s ineligible.
UNC has had a lot of pre-season hype thanks to their quarterback Drake Maye, but one of the major storylines from team has been the fact that their star wide receiver can’t take the field thanks to the NCAA bringing down the hammer, despite the team’s best efforts to change their minds.
Eric Church has never been afraid to make a statement, so that’s exactly what he did when he chose the jersey to wear to walk out on the field as an honorary captain. The UNC faithful loved that the Chief decided to really stand strong in support of the “#FreeTez” movement.
And it appears that Church doubled-down on his support for the talented wide receiver that, for now, can’t play for the Tarheels. Following a 31 to 17 victory over the rival South Carolina Gamecocks, head coach Mack Brown told the media that Eric Church joined them in the locker room and chose to give the game ball to the ineligible player.
Mack Brown got pretty emotional speaking to the media after the game about the “will-he, won’t-he play” scenario with Walker and the NCAA. He also spoke about a special moment that Church shared with the team in the locker room:
“I thought the gesture by Eric Church was pretty cool…He called yesterday and said ‘I want to honor Tez and I want to wear his jersey, is that okay?’
And we asked him and of course it was okay. Then he took the jersey off and gave it to Tez in the locker room with the game ball.”