Brandon Marshall defends his patriotism as reaction to his protest gets nasty

ENGLEWOOD—News gets old fast in today’s world.

Not even 24 hours after Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall protested what he perceives as social injustice in this country by going down on one knee during the playing of the National Anthem prior to his game Thursday night against the Carolina Panthers, the story became about the reaction to his protest.

“I definitely got more negative,’’ Marshall said in front of his locker Thursday. “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’ve 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.”

The problem, or perhaps a better word is the ‘’issue,’’ so many people have with Marshall and his former college teammate Colin Kaepernick taking a stand is  they’ve used the National Anthem as their platform.

There is no greater demonstration of patriotism of this country than the playing and signing of the Star-Spangled Banner, which has become our National Anthem. It bonds Americans like nothing else. And by taking a stand by not standing at attention during the playing of  the Star-Spangled Banner, then the perception,  fairly or unfairly, is that Marshall and Kaepernick are not all in as Americans.

Marshall better understands how his protest is viewed as unpatriotic now that The Air Force Academy Federal Credit Union has dropped him as a paid endorser.

The credit union primarily serves the cadets, officers and civilians of the Air Force Academy.

“A lot of people support me, but then I was kind of shocked to read this morning that Air Academy took away my endorsement,’’ Marshall  said. “I guess it was expected because they are a part of the Air Force. That’s where they came from, a branch of it, the credit union. I hope there is not a lot or more consequences to come. I hope there are not a lot more consequences to come, but if there is, it’s what I chose and as a man, I made a decision. I still stand by that decision. If it happens, it happens.”

Sunday is 9-11. I asked Marshall if he had thought about getting his message out there without involving the National Anthem.

Marshall said he has talked to Patrick Smyth, the Broncos’ vice president of public relations, about alternative platforms and an “end game” to his formal protest.

“We’re going to figure out some other things that I can do,’’ Marshall said. “As far as my patriotism, we have freedom of speech in this land. 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 upmost 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.”

Copyright 2016 KUSA


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