Protests were front and center at college football games across the national landscape this past weekend, and so was the backlash.
Nebraska linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey, along with freshmen teammates Mohamed Barry and DaiShon Neal, knelt in protest during the playing of the national anthem Saturday night prior to the game against Northwestern. According to Rose-Ivey in a statement he read during player media availability Monday and posted on his Twitter account, he and his teammates were dealt racially-charged criticism from “fans” on social media after the display.
“Some believe DaiShon, Mohamed and myself should be kicked off the team or suspended, while some said we deserved to be lynched or shot just like the other black people who have died recently,” Rose-Ivey stated during the oral portion of his impassioned message. “Others believe we should be hung before the anthem before the next game. These are actual statements we receive from fans. …
“We did it understanding the implications of these actions, but what we didn’t expect was the enormous amount of hateful, racially motivated comments we received from friends, peers, fans and members of the media about the method of protest.”
According to Barry, however, the reaction has been overwhelmingly positive, especially as it pertains to ‘Husker fans.
“Like 15 positives to the negative,” Barry said. “Our fans, they agree with it, they see the injustice, and for the most part they support us.
“The biggest thing isn’t that they agree or disagree with why we did, it’s ‘oh, why you did during the national anthem?’ It’s the perfect time to let it be known. What’s another time when people would actually talk about it? If we did it during practice, no one would talk about it. If it was any other particular moment — but the national anthem, that glorifies America and all that, it’s the perfect time.”
Nebraska’s governor, Pete Ricketts, had a different opinion of the protest. A decidedly different opinion.
“Generations of men and women have died to give them that right to protest,” Ricketts said. “I think the way they chose to protest was disgraceful and disrespectful.”