Brandon Marshall, the starting linebacker for the Denver Broncos, decided to kneel during the national anthem ahead of his team’s season opener against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday night.
Incidentally, Marshall and San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick were teammates in college at Nevada.
Therefore, the word on the street is that Marshall’s symbolic protest is a way to support Kaepernick, who continues to stand for the anthem despite national outrage over the last few weeks.
Brandon Marshall backed by Broncos
Marshall, an active contributor to communities in Denver, knelt just before the anthem and remained in that stance until ‘The Star-Spangled Banner’ finished playing at Mile High’s Sports Authority Field.
His teammates were lined up next to him, some of them even appearing bemused in front of a live camera.
Broncos, the reigning Super Bowl champions, supported Marshall’s decision via a statement released.
“While we encourage members of our organization to stand during the national anthem, we understand and respect it being a personal decision,” Denver said in a statement.
Marshall, who was a key member of Denver’s Super Bowl-winning team, is yet to offer an explanation for his actions. But it’s increasingly obvious that Marshall’s act was in support for Kaepernick, who recently lost his starting job with the 49ers.
— NBC Sports (@NBCSports) September 9, 2016
Coach Gary Kubiak unhappy?
The 32-year-old linebacker is free to practice his First Amendment. Broncos coach Gary Kubiak, however, would prefer if Marshall stood up for the anthem.
“I want our guys to stand for the national anthem. … My dad taught me two things that I believe in strongly. He told me to believe in my values and those types of things in life, and obviously I believe in our country and the national anthem very strongly. But at the same time, he taught me to respect other people’s beliefs and values, so I do that.
“Our guys do a great job. But I don’t babysit guys. I let them handle themselves. We tell our guys: ‘Be yourself. Be your best self,” Kubiak was quoted as saying during the preseason.
Meanwhile, Marshall likely suffered a concussion during the second quarter of the NFL season opener on Thursday night. He was rushed to the locker room for an evaluation.
Fortunately, the team’s second-leading tackler last season returned during the second half.
Will Brandon Marshall explain his actions or continue to kneel for the national anthem?
— SNF on NBC (@SNFonNBC) September 9, 2016