The latest NFL player to refuse to stand for America’s national anthem says he doesn’t stand against men and women in uniform by kneeling during the song.
Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, who took a knee during “The Star Spangled Banner” before the NFL season opener Thursday night, claims “I’m not against” the military and the police but rather, “I’m against social injustice.”
Marshall says he wants to show solidarity with his former University of Nevada teammate and San Fransisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who in August began refusing to stand for the anthem to protest “police brutality” and America’s “oppression” of blacks.
“There’s a lot of things that need to change. One specifically is police brutality, there’s people being murdered unjustly and not being held accountable,” Kaepernick stated in a post preseason game interview. ‘The cops are getting paid leave for killing people. That’s not right. That’s not right by anyone’s standards.”
A fifth-round draft choice by the Jaguars in 2012, Marshall argued that his stance on social justice isn’t frivolous and that he developed his beliefs in college. “We’re actually educated individuals that went to college. So when we have an opinion and we speak it, I feel a lot of people bash us for what we have to say.”
Pregame protestation of the national anthem, “is the right platform,” Marshall asserted in a postgame interview at Mile High Stadium, where the Broncos defeated the Carolina Panthers 21-20.
“I feel like this is the right platform. This is our only platform to really be heard. And I feel a lot of times people want us to just shut up and entertain them, shut up and play football. But we have voices as well,” Marshall asserted. The 26-year-old said he will continue to refuse to stand during the anthem at the start of games, reported CBS Denver.
Broncos coach Gary Kubiak offered his support for Marshall. He told USA Today after the game that “Brandon is a great kid…. He is a leader of this team. I believe in my players.”
The Denver Broncos issued a statement in regard to their linebacker’s protest: “While we encourage members of our organization to stand during the National Anthem, we understand and respect it being a personal decision.”