OMAHA, Neb. (AP) — The Nebraska men’s basketball team plans to take a public stand Saturday opposing the views of a university student who calls himself a white nationalist in a widely distributed online video.
Coach Tim Miles said Friday the team will wear T-shirts reading “Hate Will Never Win” at the game against Rutgers in Lincoln. Players also were making a video rejecting racism and hate to be shown at Pinnacle Bank Arena.
“The No. 1 thing, our guys realize they are in a place to make a great impact,” Miles said. “The exposure over the next six weeks, their message can be strong and they can have a positive impact on our campus community.”
In the videos that roiled the campus this week, biochemistry major Daniel Kleve of Norfolk professed to be the most active white nationalist in the state, disparaged Martin Luther King Jr., African-Americans and Mexicans and supported violence.
The group that released the initial video was Antifa Nebraska and is not affiliated with the campus, Nebraska spokeswoman Leslie Reed said.
“I want to feel safe on campus, the guys want to feel safe,” said Glynn Watson Jr., a junior point guard. “There are a lot of people out there like (Kleve), and you can’t change that. We’re OK. We want to do this for the people who don’t feel like they’re OK, the students on campus who don’t have (a platform) to say anything.”
Senior guard Evan Taylor, a team captain, said the players discussed a number of possible responses, including boycotting a game. That idea was quickly voted down.
Asked to describe the thought behind “Hate Will Never Win,” Taylor said: “It represents the message to spread love. We’re all human, whether you play basketball, whether you’re just a normal student, and we all feel the same emotions. No one wants to feel unsafe, feel like they aren’t loved. So spread love. Hate will never win in this world.”
About 300 students attended a campus rally Wednesday to oppose hate speech. Miles, who attended the rally, said his players chose not to go.
Chancellor Ronnie Green said Kleve’s message — however hateful and intolerant — is protected by the First Amendment.
Miles said he noticed his players were subdued before their game at Minnesota on Tuesday, and they met on the plane ride back to Lincoln to discuss the video.
“I think it was jarring for the men’s and women’s teams both,” Miles said. “It hit close to home. It’s like when you see the neighbor interviewed about the guy next door and the chaos he just created. The neighbor says, ‘This isn’t supposed to happen here.'”
University administrators and staff from the campus’ multicultural center met with the players and answered questions about free speech and safety.
“I’m proud of the guys,” Miles said. “I’m glad they’re willing to take a stand against prejudice, hate and racism. We want to make this a positive thing going forward, and I think we can make a difference.”
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