Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall doesn’t believe anyone should be questioning his patriotism after kneeling during the National Anthem prior to this past Thursday’s season-opener.
“As far as my patriotism, we have freedom of speech in this land.” Marshall told reporters. “You can do whatever you want to do; that’s the beautiful thing. I can have my own beliefs. I can do what I want to do, so at the same time people can question my patriotism, but I have the utmost respect for this country, for this land and the military. I’m not against any of those entities at all.
“As far as my patriotism, I think that shouldn’t be in question because I’m just upholding my rights. I can protest peacefully. I can stand or sit. I can say what I feel like saying. That’s what our military has fought for, the ability for everybody to be themselves and to be their own person. I’m just exercising that right and I will continue to do that.”
Marshall says he’s gotten plenty negative reactions on social media.
“I definitely got more negative,” Marshall said. “It’s tough because I didn’t read all the comments. I had so many comments on Twitter and Instagram, I couldn’t go through all of them. I had a lot of positive text messages, but as far a social media, I had a lot of negative, racist comments. A lot of people calling me the ‘N’ word and calling me all kind of derogatory terms. It is what it is. There is a lot of hate out there. I’m not here to spread hate or negativity, I’m here to spread positivity.”
Marshall doesn’t know when he’ll stop expressing himself.
“One of my coaches asked me, he supported me, one of the coaches said, Look, I support you, but what is the end game?’” Marshall said. “He said, ‘Are you going to do this rest of your career? The rest of the season? A couple more games?’ I think that’s a very valid question. This is something that’s been going on for so long. They always do the national anthem at every game, at every sporting event. Once I come up with a good plan, like I said, I’m going to donate. I’m going to do some things in the community. I’ll figure it out.”
Broncos head coach Gary Kubiak didn’t know Marshall was going to kneel.
“I told [coach Gary] Kubiak because he was blindsided; nobody knew really about it,” Marshall said. “I told him, ‘I didn’t really want to create a distraction for the team.’ We have one goal and that goal is still to win football games. The goal was to beat Carolina, so why create a distraction in the locker room? I kept it to myself. And, we won the game.”
“I just want people to stand up for what they believe in and stand up for what they feel is right,” Marshall said. “I feel this is right. I’m hoping that other players will take a stand as well, but not just take a stand, but actually actively do something in the community.”