Bless Their Hearts: Three Cornhusker Players Drop a Knee; Lynching Threats by Bigots Abound


(This diary is courtesy of Mr. wd, who provided all the info and links. U of N is his alma mater: “♫There is no place like Nebraska…tr la la…♪♪”)

During a game on September 25 with Northwestern in Evanston, IL, senior linebacker Michael Rose-Ivey, freshmen Mohamed Barry and DaiShon Neal dropped to one knee as the Star Spangled Banner played to protest police brutality and racial injustice.  Rose-Ivey said the idea was prompted by San Francisco 49er Colin Kapaernick’s refusal to honor the song any longer.  In Lincoln the players are still in the locker room when the song is sung, so this was the first opportunity for the three to kneel post-Kapaernick.

The backlash was swift, furious, and hideous.  In his own words:

“…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 message of protests.

I have still been referred to on Facebook and Twitter as a clueless confused n—er, by former high school classmates, friends peers and even Husker fans. Some believe DaiShon (Neal), Mohamed (Barry) 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.

People assume this is just internet talk, but I can tell you from my own experience, at this very institution, and visiting other college campuses within he past few years that racism is still a problem that must be addressed. I can’t tell you the numerous amount of times I’ve heard the n-word being shouted to my teammates and I by opposing fans behind our bench.

“I believe in the promise of America that tells me all men are created equal and have the right of liberty, justice and equality,” Rose-Ivey said. “But, unfortunately, America has not always lived up to those ideals. So in the words of James Baldwin, ‘I love America more than any other country in the world, and exactly for this reason I insist on the right to criticize her perpetually.‘”

Here’s the longer version; if it he doesn’t choke you up, I’ll be surprised.

And what was Gov Pete Rickey’s reaction?  He called it disgraceful and disrespectful, of course.

Generations of men and women have died to give them that right to protest,” the governor said. “I think the way they chose to protest was disgraceful and disrespectful.”

Goddam, I get sick of that meme: “They died for your freedom of speech” horseshit.  Especially now, when speech has been criminalized, and thoughts/writing can be prosecuted as crimes as well.  Jeebus.

Coach Mike Riley was quite philosophical about their protest at a press conference afterward.  It’s phrased a bit awkwardly, but his message is worthy.

“Riley spoke briefly about the three players who kneeled during the national anthem on Saturday. His main message within the locker room is respect, he said. “There are 140 guys in that locker room. We’ve all grown up different. So we start out, the very first word I use at the start of each year is respect. Because we have guys from all kinds of background, all parts of the country, we have a nice, and I love it, a melting pot. And you have a bunch of kids in college, where they are in college. I even remember, you gain a whole new awareness of the world in college. And you start to form opinions of who you are for the rest of your life. Which is why it’s special for us to be with these guys through this part of their life. What you try to do is appreciate and respect the differences right in this room and basically when you are a member of a team, you don’t let those differences affect what you’re trying to do as a football team. And that’s a big chore, but it’s a reality for the rest of their life.”

On a past thread here at the Café, a commenter lamented the recent trend of colleges being too politically correct, and provided this link to ‘UNL students restricted by new ‘respect’ policy’ mocking (at a minimum) the new chancellor of UN at Lincoln saying almost exactly the same thing.

Now whether it’s all aspirational or not, I will say that in our local schools there are all sorts of ‘zero tolerance for x or y’, but enforcing them always depends on who’s doin’ the doin’, yanno?  Jocks were never disciplined, nor were the chirren of board members; maybe it’s changed now.  And I like the idea of respect and inclusiveness, unless behaviors actually do threaten the safety of other community members.

Other pro sports players have done similarly; on opening day, Kansas city cornerback Marcus Peters raised his arm in a power-salute during the odious anthem; later four Miami Dolphins did the same.  Cheerleaders at Howard University did as well, and good on them, some WNBA players, high school players and fans here and there…it all seems to be spreading.  One lone Denver Bronco did as well, but I haven’t heard feedback on his gesture, have you?

But won’t it be even more heartening when players’ white and otherly-hued counterparts begin to drop a knee with their brothers and sisters of color?  Or that some black players don’t skirt the issue by linking arms instead?

Michael Rose-Ivey Retweeted 5 hrs ago: (click for larger)

11 responses to “Bless Their Hearts: Three Cornhusker Players Drop a Knee; Lynching Threats by Bigots Abound

  1. Wooot! ‘More than 100 march in Cortez against Dakota pipeline’ cortez urinal:
    “People honked horns in support, as marchers crossed Main Street obeying the walk signal with plain-clothed police officers helping to guide the crowd. Traffic was not obstructed during the peaceful rally. [never mind ute arvin wall]

    Rally participant Charlene Draper, a Navajo from Cortez, said she relates to the Sioux’s concerns about protecting their water.

    “When I grew up, we were told not to drink the water out of the faucet because of contamination from uranium mines on our reservation,” she said. “All it takes is one spill, and the water and land is contaminated. I can see both sides, we use oil and it provides jobs but I’d rather see more renewable resources like solar and wind that are easier on the Earth.” (more is here.)

  2. “remember the titans.” TC Williams HS is a mile away. it was 20 years after that movie took place that i played football for a few in podunk weevilville TX (“he don’t play cuz he’s gay.” but that’s a different story.) lots & lots of racism around, but not in the locker room.

    the larger goal bro’t us together (nobody refused the lard’s prayer after practices/games, but that’s also a different story). it’s true that the “larger goal” can be militarism (something the blind bard Homer knew about long ago, Iliad 23), but that a larger goal can lead to transcendence of racism is still true, regardless of how used.

    on the other hand, remember Jerry Sanduski? and how convenient it was that Joe Paterno suddenly popped off? (wasn’t that odd?) and how many, many Nittany Lions fans, alums, admins, etc., did not give one thought to what Sanduski was up to in the locker room, and Paterno undoubtedly overlooked? Paterno was a great coach, & that’s all that matters. that people would go batshit over a little insertion of reality into their sports fantasy…the larger goal transcended the coaches’ crimes, did it not?

    it’ll be great when the whites join in. it will be greater when they all join in to refuse to participate in the military hoopla. maybe it’s coming.

    • a bit lost here, i am, jason. okay, i looked up ‘remember the titans’, and as i’d remembered, i’d watched cuz: denzel, even though i loathe football so much i never learned The Rulez. i guess i get football proving you’re not gay some places; how stupid that sounds now.

      you’re speaking of ‘unit cohesion’ necessitating transcending racism, and yes, the first blacks to serve w/ whites in the military must have had a time of it. not sure why you’ve brought in sandusky, whom i remembered more for freda’s art than anything… save for ‘look away for the more important goal: winning, unless you think that’s what was driving coach riley’s statement was about. guess i’d like to think not.

      dunno when military hoopla will wain, esp given the sanitary way wars are prosecuted now, and no body bags coming home. that was a brilliant change post viet nam, wasn’t it? but speaking of military, msn headline said this morning: ‘female sailor being probed for sitting’ (during the anthem, the pledge, i can’t say. but i bet that ‘probe’ will not be fun at all.

      oh, and i’d had to look up paterno, and for some reason he’s in the news this week. his son had a page up denying his being an enabler. maybe that’s what caused you to ping him and sandusky?

      • i’d avoided “remember the titans” until recently & only then, cuz hey, i’m in the ‘hood. i rather liked it. partly for the nostalgia factor. i didn’t have that experience of racism in sports, but it was certainly around elsewhere.
        and yes, the older i get, the more i despise football. and pro sports in general, but esp. football. what else are you not getting? and yes, the coach’s quote is fine as far as it goes, but do kids take that “respect” w/them for the rest of their lives? and is that a good thing? depends, doesn’t it?

        and def. good on all those athletes. it’s gotta start somewhere. w/”unrest”, the national guard being called out, the line b/n cop & soldier could be crossed real fast..

        • i guess i’m still wondering why you’d brought in sandusky and paterno here, unless my guess was it. and as for kids takin’ that respet with them and ‘depending; yes. in the op: who’s doin’ the doin’, and “And I like the idea of respect and inclusiveness, unless behaviors actually do threaten the safety of other community members”.

          sorry, my head’s not in the game (so to speak); i’ve been watching videos and reading on DCR again. didn’t start out there, but that’s how it goes sometimes, isn’t it? africom and US policy makers love to create failed states that are overly-endowed w/ mineral riches.

  3. holy smokie joe; it IS spreading. today at ‘US national anthem protests at sporting events continue to spread’. an astounding rundown, far too many to copy/paste. awesome news it is; the narrative doesn’t specifically say that they were all black players, coaches, fans, but maybe not. goose bump worthy, in any event.

    • yeah, it came via email. guess i had to laugh at how pale it was compared to Gilman’s at wsws. just phonin’ it in, courtesy of Pierre’s Place. Gilman did some serious diggin’, no? not to be ungrateful….

  4. good morning. we have an Obomba two-fer today concerning this issue and the congressional override of his veto of JASTA. the house seems to have voted some time late yesterday.

    In a 97-1 vote in the Senate, later followed by a 348-76 vote to override the veto in the U.S. House of Representative, the “Justice Against Sponsors of Terrorism Act” will now become law, making Wednesday’s vote the first veto override in Obama’s two terms in office.”

    “The concern that I’ve had is — has nothing to do with Saudi Arabia per se or my sympathy for 9/11 families, it has to do with me not wanting a situation in which we’re suddenly exposed to liabilities for all the work that we’re doing all around the world, and suddenly finding ourselves subject to the — the private lawsuits in courts where we don’t even know exactly whether they’re on the up and up, in some cases.”
    “I want Mr. Kaepernick and others who are on a knee, I want them to listen to the pain that that may cause somebody who, for example, had a spouse or a child who was killed in combat, and why it hurts them to see somebody not standing,” he said. “But I also want people to think about the pain that he may be expressing about somebody who’s lost a loved one that they think was unfairly shot.”

  5. It is interesting how recently our civil religious symbols and rites have been formalized and now in the past decade or so rigidly enforced.

    “The Star-Spangled Banner” was recognized for official use by the United States Navy in 1889, and by U.S. President Woodrow Wilson in 1916, and was made the national anthem by a congressional resolution on March 3, 1931 (46 Stat. 1508, codified at 36 U.S.C. § 301), which was signed by President Herbert Hoover.

    At the height of the Depression, we had legislation to formalize the racist anthem as “The One” (in the midst of a huge movement nationwide of the Ku Klux Klan and continued lynchings).

    Not to mention the recent (just before 1900) origin of the Pledge of Allegiance to the flag and the 1954 insertion of “under God” into the Pledge of Allegiance. Just happened to be in the midst of McCartthyism and in the year of Brown v. Board of Education.

    There is a powerful anxiety about patriotism among the folks out there, isn’t there. Especially as the forms become hollow. It is almost like the talisman: if you don’t say the Pledge faithfully enough, the US will get hit by a terrierist. God wants you to say the Pledge and especially say his name. Or we’re all gonna diiiiiieeeeeee!!!

    Establishment of a civil religion is still establishment of a religion with the power of the state. We so much want in this country the freedom to punish other people based on discrimination (in the bias and prejudiced sense). It our national shiny object of late.

    • awesome, thd. thanks for the odious pledge’s etiology; fancy tht i’d never looked it up, although i’d seen a few hadlines that might have told me so. now i did know about ‘under god’ being added, cuz i’d seen a video by an atheist group on why it’s not legal to demand that (especially school kids) recite it.

      civil religion: wonderful expression, and this is beautiful: “There is a powerful anxiety about patriotism among the folks out there, isn’t there. Especially as the forms become hollow. It is almost like the talisman: if you don’t say the Pledge faithfully enough, the US will get hit by a terrierist. God wants you to say the Pledge and especially say his name. Or we’re all gonna diiiiiieeeeeee!!!” (country joe: “whoopee we’re all gonna die!”)

      thanks, and for me it’s siesta time.

      p.s. patriotic jingoism.

care to comment? (no registration required)

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s