On the weekly Big Ten coaches teleconference call Tuesday, Nebraska coach Mike Riley addressed the harsh reaction to senior linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey’s speech yesterday about why he and two teammates kneeled during the national anthem before Saturday’s Northwestern game.
Rose-Ivey said in his speech that he has been told on social media by friends, peers and fans that he and fellow Nebraska players Mohammed Barry and DaiShon Neal should be “lynched or shot” because of his silent protest. Rose-Ivey also said another person on social media said he should be “hung” before the next game.
Riley said that those criticizing or threatening Rose-Ivey should be reminded that “this is America.”
“Well, I think that everybody should be reminded that there’s lots of differences in people,” Riley said. “I have 140 kids on the football team and they’re all different in their own beautiful way. And people should be reminded this is America and we have the opportunity and right to basically say what we feel and how we feel and why we’re feeling that way. I think Mike did a great job of that and he should be respected for that.”
Riley also said he thought Rose-Ivey did a “awesome job” during his speech on Monday.
“Mike is a very, very thoughtful person I think he’s a very aware person and these thoughts obviously did not come overnight nor did the actions he used on Saturday,” Riley said.