UGA walk-on speaks up on playing without fear of COVID-19

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UGA walk-on speaks up on playing without fear of COVID-19

UGA walk-on Matthew Brown (24) during Georgia's 2019 Fall Camp.
UGA walk-on Matthew Brown (24) during Georgia’s 2019 Fall Camp

On Tuesday, the news broke that both the Big Ten and Pac-12 conferences announced that all fall sports would be postponed, including football, and they would reconsider playing it in the spring.

Then, Georgia redshirt sophomore walk-on inside linebacker Matthew Brown appeared as a guest on CNN and shared his thoughts about the decision.

“Personally, I think with so much uncertainty going around, it’s just, it’s nice to have somebody make some decision in regards to college football,” Brown said.

As of Wednesday morning, the SEC had yet to make a final decision on playing this fall. So, Brown and his teammates continue to practice in Athens.

“Coach Smart has been teaching us that we just have to stay ready when whenever the call comes,” Brown said. “So when it is time to play, we’ll be ready to play. We have to stay prepared and be prepared for the start of the season. That is our mission and our focus and that is what is going to be the case for the next few weeks too.”

The Guyton, Ga. native was then asked about how he felt about the potential risks of playing during a worldwide pandemic.

“Personally, there is risk for everything,” Brown said. “There is risk with football, there is risk with driving a car. With my faith, I’m supposed to live my life without fear. With our medical staff, I have the confidence that they’re going to take care of our team. With Coach Smart and the leadership group, we stay disciplined and follow the protocols.

“I feel like this is the best spot for us to be in terms of not contracting the virus and following the guidelines. So I think this will be pretty interesting to see how everything goes but, as in terms of being fearful of the risks, no sir. No ma’am. This is college football. This is a thrill to be here and it is a value to be here and everyone wants to participate and see how the season goes.”

Eric Stokes (27) and Matthew Brown (24) participate in tip drills during practice.
Eric Stokes (27) and Matthew Brown (24) participate in tip drills during practice.

Brown did admit that he had tested positive after taking an antibodies test on Tuesday, but was not aware of when he had the virus. The host made sure to point out that he could have affected others at practice.

“It is about being disciplined,” Brown said. “Sticking to the CDC guidelines and what Mr Ron [Dr. Ron Courson] and Coach [Kirby] Smart steadily enforce – wearing our mask and being smart when out in public. They know we are in college and young, but that is where maturity and composure comes in to know to wash your hands wherever you go and wear your mask. Those are rules we are commonly doing inside the facility.”

Brown played football at South Effingham High School and walked-on at Georgia in 2018. During his senior year he earned the Highest Senior GPA Award and also received the South Effingham High School Best All-Around Award as a senior superlative. He also played basketball and ran track at South Effingham.

Here is the video from Brown’s interview with CNN (he appears at the 4:05 mark)

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Currently an intern for BI, and a junior journalism major at the University of Georgia.