Nebraska linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey took a knee during the national anthem prior to Saturday's win at Northwestern, joined by defensive end DaiShon Neal and linebacker Mohamed Barry in protest for "to bring awareness about police brutality and the recent deaths of black men and women at the hands of police officers."
Though Rose-Ivey told reporters on Monday that he's received "way more positive" response from Nebraska fans than negative, the move has come with some significant backlash.
"Some believe DaiShon, Mohamed and myself should be kicked off the team or suspended, while some said we deserved to be lynched or shot like the other black people who have died recently," Rose-Ivey said in a statement he read to reporters. "Another believed that since we didn't want to stand for the anthem that we should be hung before the anthem at the next game."
Nebraska's Michael Rose-Ivey with a powerful statement in today's press conference. Says fans told him he should "be hung before the anthem" pic.twitter.com/NJjEMnUYhd— Jordan Heck (@JordanHeckFF) September 26, 2016
One of the fans that thinks the group should be kicked off the team is Hal Daub, a member of the University of Nebraska Board of Regents member.
"It's a free country," Daub told the 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 added. "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 said that his "phone and email inbox are full of highly critical commentary" and that he, a former serviceman and mayor of Omaha, was personally offended by what he called "copycat conduct."
The players informed the team of their plan to kneel before the game and received support from both their teammates and head coach Mike Riley. Though Rose-Ivey maintains that positive support has been there for the protests, negative comments from Daub and other prominent Nebraska fans will draw more visceral reactions.
"Michael approached me about it and wanted to talk to the team," Mike Riley said after the game. "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."