LINCOLN, Neb. — Emails obtained by SB Nation show Hal Daub, a member of the Board of Regents, lobbied personally for three Nebraska football players to lose their scholarships for kneeling during the national anthem before the Huskers game before Northwestern.
In an email to University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds, Daub said he thought the athletes were taking advantage of their privilege as student-athletes to reflect negatively on the University, and that they did not care. He also said the university is not “a forum for personal ethic or racial grievances.”
Daub went on to question Nebraska coach Mike Riley’s support of the players, calling Riley’s statements “not appropriate.” Daub went on to ask “do they think they will get a Pro contract with this kind of citizenship? Is this conduct going to continue to the potential detriment of our University?
Here is the full email, according to SB Nation:
Mon 9/26/2016 9:17 p.m.
To: Hank M. Bounds
Private universities can manage or ignore this conduct but we are a tax supported land grand institution so we must have standards of expectations especially for athletes that represent our state more visibly. Any scholarship athlete knowing the TV camera is there is taking advantage of their privilege and when it reflects negatively on us, they don’t care. They can protest in many other ways, not in ways damaging our University reputation and reducing our credibility in the eyes of our resident taxpayers. The Coach today was not appropriate and I am personally really perplexed. Are we approving offending our flag and our military service personnel because we excuse extreme conduct that is televised? We are not a forum for personal ethic or racial grievances. Do they think they will get a Pro contract with this kind of citizenship? Is this conduct going to continue to the potential detriment of our University? The next game will tell, I really hope this has ended. It is also very disrespectful to their teammates on whom it rubs off. I will have more to say about this in the future if this fringe conduct continues to be condoned. Hank, small occurrences can get out of control. I am deeply concerned. And I am embarrassed. Hal.
Daub was tipped off about the kneeling by someone emailing him, the SB Nation report shows. After someone emailed Daub asking what the public email address was to the athletic department, he forwarded the email to Bounds, saying “This could have legs in this conservative state I have been musing to you about, Hank.”
The three players, Michael Rose-Ivey, DaiShon Neil and Mohamad Barry faced scrutiny from not only Daub but also the Governor of Nebraska, Pete Ricketts, who called the players actions “disgraceful.”
Rose-Ivey, a senior linebacker, said he received death threats from Nebraska fans for kneeling.
“I have still been referred to on Facebook and Twitter as a clueless confused ni**er, who by a former high school classmates, friends peers and even Husker fans,” Rose-Ivey said during a press conference. “Some believe DaiShon, Mohammed 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 that have died recently. Another believed that since we didn’t want to stand for the anthem we should be hung before the anthem for the next game. These are actual statements we received from fans.”
The day after Daub sent the email to Bounds, he told the Lincoln Journal Star he thought the players should be kicked off the team.
“They know better, and they had better be kicked off the team,” he said. “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.”
Riley also publicly supported his players. In a Big Ten Teleconference, he said those who disagree with his players protest should be reminded that “this is America,” and the athletes should be respected for what they did.
“I have 140 kids on the football team and they’re all different in their own beautiful way,” Riley said. “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.”
Daub is the former mayor of Omaha and a former member of the U.S. House of Representatives. He has been a member of the Nebraska Board of Regents since 2012.