Kirk Ferentz

Riley says he 'probably' would take knee if issue moved him

Nebraska coach Mike Riley was coming of age when protests against the Vietnam War and civil disobedience tied to environmentalism and the treatment of American Indians and migrant workers were sweeping across his home state of Oregon. The mantra of his generation was to question authority and not trust anyone under 30.

When he went to Alabama to play football for Bear Bryant in the early 1970s, Riley was in one of the hottest spots of the civil rights era and a bastion of lingering racial tension. Wilbur Jackson, the first black football player for the Crimson Tide, was his teammate.

In 1975 he returned to the West Coast to work as a graduate assistant at California, located...