ENGLEWOOD—More than any other Bronco, Brandon Marshall understands the power of taking a knee.
He also believes he knows the crux of the reason why NFL owners don’t want players taking a knee during the playing of the National Anthem.
“It’s just a money thing,’’ Marshall, the Broncos’ three-down inside linebacker, told reporters in front of his locker Friday. “They don’t want to lose sponsorships, potentially lose money from TV ads. I don’t know, the military, all of that. That’s really what it is. They’re trying to protect their business, which is one thing I do understand.”
Marshall is done exercising that power. He took a knee during the playing of the National Anthem through eight games last season when the cause was social injustice and he was joined by half his teammates in taking a knee against President Trump’s “s.o.b’s” reference prior to game 3 at Buffalo.
But Marshall stood for the Star Spangled Banner in game 4 against Oakland after the Broncos’ player leadership council decided to present a unified front, and he will do so again Sunday night prior to the Broncos game against the New York Giants.
“Yeah, I’ll stand,’’ Marshall said. “We made a team decision. I kneeled last year and I stood back up (halfway through the season). I don’t feel like I have anything to prove. I did it when it was not a popular thing to do. I’ll continue to do my work in the community and with the kids, the things I love to do. Just do my part on the ground and hopefully create some change.’’
But Marshall said he also understands that working in the community does not apply the same juice when it comes to protesting against social injustice and the President, as does kneeling during the Anthem.
“The anthem has gotten everyone’s attention in the whole United States, if not the world, maybe,’’ Marshall told a group of reporters near his locker Friday. “Every time we do something in the community, you guys might tweet it out, might say something, but it doesn’t get national attention. The anthem protest is very controversial. That’s what sells newspapers, the controversy and the drama.’’
Although, Marshall won’t demonstrate during the National Anthem, he continues to support players who do. And like all players, he believes commissioner Roger Goodell and NFL owners would like to figure out during their league meetings next week how to get everyone to stand during the Anthem.
This became a widely held assumption after Goodell distributed a memo to all clubs this week that read: “Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game. We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues. The controversy over the Anthem is a barrier to having honest conversations and making real progress on the underlying issues. We need to move past this controversy, and we want to do that together with our players.
Building on many discussions with clubs and players, we have worked to develop a plan that we will review with you at next week’s League meeting.”
Marshall, though, doesn’t think owners want players involved in the discussions.
“We have a voice and sometimes it’s to the detriment of what they want to accomplish,’’ he said. “If we get in there and start speaking, it would be too much … argument, I don’t know. Our agenda is not what they’re agenda is. They’re agenda is business, continue to make money. The NFL makes the most money out of any sport. That’s their agenda.
“Our agenda is we love to play. We want to play, we want to get paid, but at the same time we have a platform, we have a voice and when we feel strongly about something, we want to use that. To be honest, they don’t care about that.’’