A Denver Broncos linebacker took a knee during the national anthem before Thursday night’s NFL season kickoff.
Brandon Marshall, a college teammate of Colin Kaepernick, rested on one knee as everyone else on the field rose for “The Star Spangled Banner.” The game, nationally televised on NBC without competing games distracting football fans, pitted the Broncos against the Carolina Panthers in a rematch of last season’s Super Bowl. With fifteen more games on the schedule for Week One, the NFL braces for more expressions of disrespect for America this weekend that threaten to alienate fans.
Marshall, not to be confused with the New York Jets receiver by the same name who called Kaepernick a “patriot” earlier this week, made four tackles before leaving the game in the second quarter. Medical personnel evaluated him for a possible concussion, subsequently clearing his return. He finished the game with six tackles, and the Broncos rallied at home from a 10-point halftime deficit to defeat the Panthers 21-20.
“While we encourage members of our (org) to stand during National Anthem,” the Broncos explained in a statement, “we understand and respect it being a personal decision.”
Marshall joins Colin Kaepernick, Jeremy Lane, and Eric Reid as NFL players refusing to stand for the anthem this young season. Kaepernick offered police killings of black men as the rationale for his gesture. Subsequent to initially sitting for “The Star Spangled Banner,” the backup quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers donned a Fidel Castro t-shirt, wore socks depicting policemen as pigs, and maintained that cosmetologists receive more extensive training than cops.
While the Broncos issued a somewhat ecumenical statement, head coach Gary Kubiak, while noting an acceptance of different strokes for different folks, said during training camp: “I want our guys to stand for the national anthem.”