After a member of the Nebraska Board of Regents said players should be kicked off the team for kneeling during the national anthem, University of Nebraska President Hank Bounds said in a statement Tuesday he supports the players’ right to protest.
Here is his full statement below:
“I have served in the military. I understand love of country and love of the flag and I know that freedom is not free. Many Nebraskans have expressed their opinions about the actions of our student-athletes on Saturday night. Some are supportive. Some disagree, even passionately so. That all are free to state their opinion is the beauty of living in a country like the United States. The same freedoms that protect their speech also protect our students’ speech – whether they’re kneeling during the national anthem, holding a flag on the field, praying after the game or expressing their opinion during class. All of that speech falls under the same category. All of it is protected by the First Amendment.
“The University of Nebraska’s position on free speech is abundantly clear. As explicitly stated in Board of Regents policy which has been in place for almost a half century: ‘Members of the academic community have the right to extensive latitude in making their opinions known … The public exploration and resolution of differing views can be successful only when groups and individuals discuss the issues in forums where the right to disagree, speak freely and be heard is preserved.’
“Our nation is dealing with difficult issues today, as we have for virtually our entire history. Each of us will react differently. College campuses, as much as any space, must be places where robust, even uncomfortable, debate is welcomed and encouraged. Our students, faculty and staff absolutely enjoy the right to participate in these dialogues in the manner they choose under the First Amendment and Board policy.”