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'It was killing me inside': A Panthers player's parents find a way to come to home opener

Fans weren't allowed inside Bank of America Stadium for the Panthers home opener. For their second home game, the stadium can fill 7% of its capacity.
Credit: AP
Carolina Panthers defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos watches during an NFL football camp practice Wednesday, Aug. 26, 2020, in Charlotte, N.C. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson)

CHARLOTTE, N.C. — Panthers rookie defensive end Yetur Gross-Matos' parents, Robert and Sakinah Matos, weren't allowed to come inside Bank of America Stadium to watch their son's first NFL game, but that didn't stop them from making the trip from Virginia to Charlotte.

“We’ve been there every step of the way through high school, college, the pros, and to finally get there, and not be able to get in the stadium, it was a killer," said Robert. "It was killing me inside.”

The Matos' said they haven't missed one of Yetur's football games in years and they weren't going to let a pandemic keep them from at least coming into town for his first NFL game.

“That wall separates us from seeing him play the first time on that field," said Sakinah. 

The wall won't be in the way anymore. Bank of America Stadium will be allowed to open 7% capacity just in time for the Panthers' second home game of the season. The Carolina Panthers host the Arizona Cardinals on October 4. 

“Of course we're going to be there," said Sakinah. 

The Matos family is planning to be a few of about 5,000 fans allowed in the stands. 

“I’ll probably be a little bit emotional," said Robert.“I'm ecstatic. We’re looking forward to it. The Falcons are allowing fans as well, so I'm already booking a flight to Atlanta and hopefully New Orleans. We plan on being at every game."

The Matos' said they watched the Panthers home opener, against the Raiders, inside Yetur's apartment complex by themselves.