EVANSTON, Ill. — Michael Rose-Ivey approached his head coach on Friday night and said he wanted to talk to the team and explain that he was planning to kneel during the national anthem before Saturday's game against Northwestern.
On Saturday morning, after one of the team walk-through sessions, time was set aside for Rose-Ivey to share his thoughts.
"I think we received it very well," said senior defensive tackle Kevin Maurice. "We respect Mike and we respect his decision. We respect everything he did to really shine light on what's going on. He spoke to us and it was a passionate speech.
"He's kind of one of those guys that really feels passionate about the topic. You can see that with the way he responds on social media and the way he just talks. So that's something that's really important to him."
During home games, the Huskers are not on the field during the anthem, but it's different at Northwestern, where both teams take the field just before the anthem is played.
The Nebraska senior linebacker was joined by two other teammates, DaiShon Neal and Mohamed Barry, who knelt beside him during the anthem, with their heads bowed and hands held.
Earlier in the day, some Michigan and Michigan State players raised their fists into the air during anthems prior to their games.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick has received much national attention for not standing this season during the anthem, citing racial injustice and police brutality as his reasons for doing so. Other athletes have since followed with protests of their own.
Riley did not know anybody else but Rose-Ivey was planning to kneel.
"But that's OK," the head coach said after his team's 24-13 win. "This is obviously a choice that they have made for personal reasons. And that's the beautiful thing about the United States that they can do that."
The song was performed by Jim Cornelison, who has gained fame for being the regular singer of the anthem at Chicago Blackhawks game.
Four other Nebraska players -- Nick Gates, Drew Brown, Zack Darlington and Sam Hahn -- helped hold the big American flag on the field as he sang.
Couldn't let the stars and bars touch the ground. God Bless America!" Hahn tweeted after the game.
"This was an unbelievable moment for me, to represent my sister who was a marine and uncle who was a Vietnam war veteran, God Bless the USA," tweeted Brown with a picture of the moment.
Four teammates asked in the postgame about Rose-Ivey's Saturday talk to the team, and the decision to kneel, all said they respected him.
Senior linebacker Josh Banderas said Rose-Ivey is "our brother and we respect what he does and love him all the same (and) stand by him."
Senior wide receiver Jordan Westerkamp expressed similar thoughts.
"He let us know about it and we completely respect him for it," Westerkamp said. "That's it."