Mike Riley responded to questions about three of his players who knelt during the national anthem before Nebraska’s 24-13 win over Northwestern in protest over police violence against African-Americans, a gesture that was started by 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick.
Riley said he was approached by senior LB Michael Rose-Ivey on Friday about wanting to speak to the team about his decision to kneel on Saturday.
“Michael approached me about it and wanted to talk to the team,” Riley said after the game on Saturday. “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.”
The movement is continuing to grow. More & more players are kneeling during National Anthem. Three Huskers tonight pic.twitter.com/8WCv3oBmKW
— Darren Rovell (@darrenrovell) September 24, 2016
Senior LB Josh Banderas said after the game the speech that Rose-Ivey gave was “passionate” and the team respects his decision.
“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 was joined in protest with fellow LB Mohamed Barry, and DE DaiShon Neal.
Rose-Ivey was not available to the media on Saturday after the game. He will speak to the media on Monday afternoon.