KUSA - Thursday night, the Broncos staged a big fourth quarter comeback in the Super Bowl rematch against the Carolina Panthers.
But before kickoff and after the clock ran down to zero, a large part of the conversation centered on Linebacker Brandon Marshall. Marshall took a knee during the national anthem, a symbolic gesture that was in line with his former teammate Colin Kaepernick. The Pair along with other NFL players say the move is designed to draw attention to, and help change social injustice.
The recent trend has some wondering whether or not the gesture will help accomplish that goal.
"They’re not starting something, they're fitting into a movement that has already begun," Metro state professor Norman Provizer said.
Provizer says symbolic displays like Marshall’s and Kaepernick’s are very effective at raising awareness and drawing attention. But if actual change is the goal, then individual gestures pale to the efforts of an organized movement.
"Do these things create movements? The answer is no.” Provizer said “Do these things help movements that have already been created? I think the answer is yes."
Proviser points to examples like Rosa Parks who had the backing of the NAACP and leaders of the Civil Rights movement to help affect change. He also highlighted other protests like the Occupy Wall Street protests which grabbed lots of headlines, but ultimately failed to have lasting impact.
Community Activist Jeff Fard says symbolic protests may just be initial steps in fixing a problem like social injustice but that the awareness the gestures creates are the vehicle to creating real change.
"Kaepernicks gesture was symbolic, the song (National Anthem) is symbolic,” Fard said. “What comes next is the actual work beyond the symbolism. As worthy as the symbol may be the work comes when we roll up the sleeves and say I’m really to work to make the world a more just place."
At Bronco headquarters on Friday, Marshall said he's received a lot of negative feedback about his decision. Marshall added that he has the upmost respect for this country, and the military, and is not against those entities at all. He said that he is talking to the Broncos public relations department about what's next and what he calls an end game to this protest
“Truth be told I'm not sure how long I'm going to do it,” Marshall said. “I would be lying if I said I did, which is what took me so long in the first place. I was wondering what is the end game. How long is it going to take to change and what is the end game for me to be able to get out and feel good about the change I will have affected?”
Copyright 2016 KUSA