The national anthem singer says his performance at the Men’s College World Series was canceled because he made the “horns down” gesture ahead of the Women’s College World Series semi-finals between Texas and Oklahoma.
Zach Collier, a 27-year-old US history teacher from Dallas and Fort Worth and a graduate of Texas A&M University, wrote on Facebook this week that his speech had been cancelled.
Collier also released screenshots of emails purporting to be from the College World Series of Omaha, Inc. stating that he was contacted by the NCAA because “we have documented evidence of him making offensive gestures and taunting the participating team… and we don’t feel comfortable letting him speak.”
Collier told Sportzshala on Tuesday that he has been singing the anthem at sporting events for the past 10 years, including several Texas A&M sporting events when he was still living in College Station, as well as Houston Astros and Texas Rangers games. He said he understood why someone might be offended by this gesture during the anthem.
“I am a neutral side and show my support or lack of support for a certain team after the anthem, I see how someone can be upset by this,” Collier said. “But the reason I posted was not because I was upset that they said, ‘Hey, you shouldn’t have done that.’ It was because they called “horns down” an offensive gesture. They said I was bullying the other team. It is because of these words that I wrote about it. To say that I’m mocking the participating team because I’m dropping the horns is preposterous.”
An NCAA spokesman confirmed Tuesday that Collier’s performance was canceled following the incident.
“The performance of the national anthem during an NCAA championship is a moment of reflection and mutual respect for all championship participants and fans in attendance,” the NCAA said in a statement. “After playing his national anthem during the Women’s College World Series, during which the performer inappropriately supported one participating team, taunted the other team, and interfered with participating female student athletes and coaches by attempting to interact with them, he was asked not to perform during the World Series. men’s colleges.
Collier said that the extent of his interaction with any of the players was to greet an Oklahoma state player standing next to him on home court, speaking on behalf of a mutual friend, and that the player greeted back. He did say that the Texas assistant mentioned “holding those horns”, but after that he laughed and left.
Collier said he was still surprised by the reaction and said he considered the gesture to be just part of a set of gestures for Texas schools like A&M, Texas or Texas Tech. As a result, he said his problem was that Horns Down was considered offensive by the NCAA.
“Absolutely not,” he said. “I think it’s part of the rivalry. It’s part of college sports. I don’t think Horns Down is more offensive than Gig ‘Em, Hook ‘Em or Wreck ‘Em.”
Collier, whose wife is a TCU alumnus, sang the national anthem twice at the NCAA Baseball Super Regionals at College Station, once for a TCU-Louisiana game, during which he wore a TCU kit to cheer on his wife’s team. He said he also sang the anthem before the Texas A&M game against TCU, during which he changed into all the Aggies’ clothes. He said he heard several questions from the TCU dugout about how he tumbled as he passed, but it was all in jest, especially since TCU had eliminated Texas A&M from the postseason the previous three times they had met.
“I said, ‘Yes, but I’m Aggie,'” he said. “And I wanted to be the one to kick you out of the tournament.”
In Oklahoma City, Collier said he thought it was the same Wednesday.
“I’m Aggie, Texas played,” Collier said. “I was going to give them Go Pokes and then Horns Down after the anthem. That’s exactly what I did. And three hours after I sang the anthem, I got an email saying that I shouldn’t have sung. for the Men’s College World Series more.
“I said, ‘What kind of unsportsmanlike behavior are you talking about?'” he said.
A contact at the CWS responded with an NCAA comment and a photo of him doing the gesture on the field.
Collier admitted he was disappointed that he missed his chance to sing ahead of Game 9 in Omaha, a scheduled spot he got after an audition that he was told had over 100 entries from 17 states. But he added that he has no regrets despite Aggie missing his first trip to Omaha since 2017.
“You know, if I’m going to do Horns Down, I’m going to do Horns Down,” he said. “I don’t think anyone is going to stop me from doing this.”