Three Nebraska football players — linebackers Michael Rose-Ivey and Mohamed Barry, and defensive end DaiShon Neal — kneeled Saturday night during the national anthem at Ryan Field, joining San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and other athletes in protest of police violence against African-Americans.
Kaepernick began his protest during the NFL preseason. Since then, football players at the NFL, college and high school levels have joined him.
Rose-Ivey declined interview requests Saturday night. He'll talk to the media Monday about his decision to kneel. He told Nebraska coach Mike Riley on Friday night of his intention to do so before the Northwestern game. At Nebraska home games, the Huskers are in the locker room as the national anthem plays.
“Michael approached me about it and wanted to talk to the team,” coach Mike Riley said. “And so we set a time this morning — after one of our walk-throughs — so he could explain to the team. I didn't know anybody else was going to do it, but that's OK. This is obviously a choice they have made for personal reasons and that's the beautiful thing about the United States that they can do that.”
Nebraska linebacker Josh Banderas did not kneel, but supported Rose-Ivey's choice to do so.
“He came to us and said 'I'm open for dialogue,'” Banderas said. “He's a brother to us. He's been there forever. We've been with him for four years. So whatever Mike wants to do, it's important. We know he's very passionate about whatever he does. You can see by his play on the field. He's a very passionate guy. He's a brother. We respect what he does. We love him. We'll stand by him.”
Rose-Ivey finished the game with two tackles. Neal had one tackle. Barry did not register a tackle.
Also during the national anthem, four Husker players — kicker Drew Brown, holder Zack Darlington, offensive tackle Nick Gates and guard Sam Hahn — helped Northwestern staffers hold a large American flag. The Wildcats did not appear to have enough staff members available to hold it.