A former Rockhurst High School football player says he received racially charged and threatening responses to his decision to kneel during the national anthem of a college football game last weekend.
Nebraska linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey, who along with two teammates knelt before Saturday’s game at Northwestern, said he has been called the N-word on social media while others have told him he deserves to be killed.
Rose-Ivey said some of the messages were sent by “former high school classmates, friends, peers and even Husker fans.”
Rose-Ivey played four seasons at Rockhurst High School. Nebraska teammates Mohamed Barry and DaiShon Neal knelt alongside him during the national anthem Saturday.
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“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 told reporters Monday. “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.”
In his remarks Monday, which he also posted on his Twitter account, Rose-Ivey said he was kneeling “in solidarity” with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick. The three Nebraska players told their teammates about their plans before the game, according to reports.
On Tuesday, Rose-Ivey posted that he has received messages of encouragement and support, as well.
“Those asking what they can do, trust me there will be actions coming,” he wrote on Twitter.
Rose-Ivey is a senior with the Cornhuskers. He played four seasons with the Rockhurst Hawklets, making The Kansas City Star’s All-Metro team after his senior year.
“Michael was a great kid. I had him for four years. He was a great teammate. Kids here loved him,” Rockhurst coach Tony Severino said. “God, he worked hard. I have nothing but good things to say about Michael.”
Rose-Ivey emphasized Monday that he is not anti-police, anti-military or anti-American. He said he felt obligated to bring awareness to social injustices, including police brutality and discriminatory laws.
“We did this understanding the implications of these actions, but what we didn’t expect was the enormous amount of hateful, racially motivated comments we received from friends, peers, fans, members of the media and others about the method of protest,” Rose-Ivey said. “While you may disagree with the method, these reactions further underscore the need for this protest and gives us just a small glimpse into the persistent problem of racism in this country.”