Injured UNC walk-on's brother points finger at Tar Heels

Aug. 28, 2014 @ 07:08 PM

The brother of a North Carolina player who was reportedly the victim of a training-camp altercation has accused the program of downplaying the incident.

UNC coach Larry Fedora announced Wednesday evening that four players will be suspended for the first game of the season for “a violation of team rules.”

Fedora’s announcement came one day after a Yahoo report described a group assault on redshirt freshman wide receiver Jackson Boyer at the team’s hotel, Aloft Chapel Hill.

“UNC Football is actively covering up both players involved and the extent of the violence that occurred on 8/4/14,” Cole Boyer, Jackson’s older brother, wrote on Twitter. “4 players isn’t even 25% of group that assaulted my brother, leaving him unconscious and badly concussed.”

A source close to the family said that the Boyers have hired an attorney. Boyer, who graduated from East Chapel Hill, is still practicing with the team.

When reached by phone, Cole Boyer verified that he wrote the Twitter messages but otherwise declined to comment. Cole attended UNC but did not graduate.

Defensive backs Des Lawrence, Brian Walker, M.J. Stewart and Donnie Miles will sit out Saturday’s home game against Liberty. Fedora declined to specify the nature of the players’ violation, though he said it occurred early in training camp. Players reported to camp on July 31 and the first practice was held Aug. 1.

“We’re going to hold all of our guys accountable for everything they do, on the field and off the field,” Fedora said. “And we also have very high expectations for guys in this program, and they didn’t meet those expectations, so that’s why we’re having some disciplinary measures.”

Fedora said the football team’s investigation into the incident was complete and he won’t be suspending any other players, although the Office of Student Affairs was conducting its own investigation into the matter because students were involved.

Rick White, a spokesman for the university, said that the school’s investigation was still ongoing.

“It will be hopefully be concluded soon but I don’t have a timetable,” White said. “We’re aware of the incident and we take it seriously, and we’re investigating it thoroughly.”

The school’s policy states that “UNC expressly prohibits hazing or any activity that puts a student’s physical, emotional or psychological health and safety at risk,” though it doesn’t specify any punishments for violators.

A spokesman for the Chapel Hill police department said that there is no record of police being called to the hotel to investigate an incident involving the football team.

UNC athletic director Bubba Cunningham said Wednesday that he approved of how Fedora handled the situation and that student-athletes are held accountable for their mistakes.

“Larry did a nice very job talking about disappointment when you have to not allow kids to play,” Cunningham said. “I thought Larry was outstanding.”