Ricketts will meet with Husker linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey, who knelt during national anthem

Ricketts will meet with Husker linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey, who knelt during national anthem
Photo Courtesy: World-Herald News Service

Gov. Pete Ricketts will meet with Husker football player Michael Rose-Ivey to discuss his decision to kneel during the national anthem before Saturday’s game.

Rose-Ivey requested the meeting with Ricketts in a tweet Tuesday morning.

“Would love to sit down and further the discussion with you if you are available,” he had tweeted.

Late Tuesday, Ricketts tweeted: “Thanks for reaching out. Direct message me your information, and we will get something set up right away!”

Rose-Ivey replied to Ricketts’ tweet: “I would be more than happy to do that. I appreciate this.”

The governor on Monday called the decision by linebacker Rose-Ivey and two other Husker players — defensive end DaiShon Neal and linebacker Mohamed Barry — “disgraceful and disrespectful.”

Earlier Monday, Rose-Ivey told reporters at Memorial Stadium that the players felt it was their duty to “step up and join the chorus of athletes in the NFL, WNBA, college and high school using their platforms to highlight these issues.”

The players knelt during the national anthem before Saturday’s Northwestern game in solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who began kneeling to protest wrongdoings, such as police violence, against African-Americans and minorities.

Ricketts said he respected the players’ right to protest, but that he disagreed with the way they did so. He suggested players raise their fists, as have past Olympians. He also condemned any violent threats or language directed toward the players.

Nebraska coach Mike Riley has said Rose-Ivey spoke “very eloquently” to the team about his decision prior to Saturday’s anthem.

Nebraska’s Mike Riley on criticism from Gov. Pete Ricketts and Hal Daub: ‘I’m certain of how we’re handling it’

Nebraska football coach Mike Riley said Tuesday night that Gov. Pete Rickets and University of Nebraska regent Hal Daub — elected officials who have been vocal critics of three Husker players kneeling during the national anthem — are entitled to their opinion, but he’s comfortable with how he’s handled the situation.

“I’m certain of how we’re handling it,” Riley said of allowing Michael Rose-Ivey, Mohamed Barry and DaiShon Neal to kneel during the national anthem last Saturday in protest of police violence against black Americans. Riley said he’d had discussions with athletic director Shawn Eichorst that affirmed his confidence. “It’s exactly what we talked about: Everybody can have an opinion. They’re entitled to it. I’m not surprised.”

When asked if he was disappointed that Ricketts and Daub had criticized the players without talking to them or Riley first, the coach said “I actually do think if they talked to to the players they would have a real good idea.”

Would Riley invite such a dialogue?

“That would be totally up to the players,” Riley said. “They took an opportunity with a situation to make a point. Which I respect. Within the confines of our team, it was well-respected by our team, and I love that. And all these guys are just beautiful guys who are really thoughtful. When they did that, there was a ton of thought that went into it. I really, truly believe there are tons of opinions across this country about something like this. And I’m not going to worry about that. I have a firm belief about what I think is right and wrong. What other people say, they’re certainly entitled to say. I have respect for the fact that they can say it.”

Daub told the World-Herald he was “not pleased” with Riley’s response to the situation. Riley was aware of Daub’s comments prior to the interview.

“He’s entitled to to say that,” Riley said. “I have complete confidence in what I believe in and how I handled it within this team. It was the right thing to do — because it’s their right.”