A University of Nebraska regent thinks the three Cornhuskers who knelt for the national anthem on Saturday should do so on their own time and not on the school’s dime.
“It’s a free country,” Hal Daub, a former mayor of Omaha, explained to the Lincoln Journal Star. “They don’t have to play football for the university, either. They know better, and they had better be kicked off the team.”
Daub subsequently denied calling for their removal from the squad to both the Journal Star and the Associated Press. He affirmed his other criticisms of the players.
Linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey, defensive end DaiShon Neal, and linebacker Mohamed Barry all took a knee during the national anthem at a road game against Northwestern on Saturday. The Cornhuskers prevailed 24-23.
“They won’t take the risk to exhibit their free speech in a way that places their circumstance in jeopardy, so let them get out of uniform and do their protesting on somebody else’s nickel,” Daub told the newspaper. “Those publicity seeking athletes ought to rethink the forum in which they chose to issue their personal views at the expense of everyone else.”
The school’s president stood by the players and said the First Amendment protects them from repercussions. Head coach Mike Riley praised his players. Nebraska Governor Pete Ricketts called the demonstration “disgraceful” and “disrespectful.”
The players see it differently.
“As we looked at what’s been going on in this country, the injustices that have been taking place primarily against people of color, we all realized that there is a systemic problem in America that needs to be addressed,” Rose-Ivey explained Monday. “We felt it was our duty to step up and join the chorus of athletes in the NFL, WNBA, college and high school using their platforms to highlight these issues.”