A Nebraska Husker has explained his protest during the national anthem; a protest the governor has criticized.
Senior Linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey knelt with two other Huskers during the national anthem before their game against Northwestern Saturday in protest of recent police shootings of black men.
“It is my hope that in taking a knee the consciousness of the entire nation will be raised and everyone will be challenged to truly come together to work for fairness, equality, and justice for all. We all have an important role,” Rose-Ivey told the news media Monday. “We all have that role and we all have that responsibility.”
Rose-Ivey said he was not anti-police, anti-military, nor anti-America. He said he loves his country and appreciates its freedom. But, Rose-Ivey said the county needs to address racial strife. He stated this problem is about lives, not people’s feelings.
Rose-Ivey said the blowback has been intense. He said he has heard harsh, often racially-tinged, criticism of his action taken with redshirt freshmen DaiShon Neal and Mohamed Barry. Rose-Ivey added it wasn’t the first time he has had racial epithets thrown his way, relating he has been the target of racial slurs even on the Lincoln campus.
Rose-Ivey gave Coach Mike Riley a heads-up before the game. Riley had him address the team.
“The very first word I use at the very start of each year, and this is just kind of the lead-in to the first team meeting, is respect,” Riley said.
Gov. Pete Ricketts addressed the issue as well, fielding a question during his call-in radio show on Monday when a caller criticized the action and suggested the three be kicked off the team, even kicked out of the state.
Ricketts called the action taken by the players disrespectful and disgraceful.
“Part of our country is that people have that right to protest and I think that they ought to look for ways that respect our flag and our nation and still be able to get their message across,” according to Ricketts, suggesting to another caller later in the program that a raised fist might be more appreciate.
AUDIO: Brent Martin reports [1 min.]