Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall was one of the first NFL players to join Colin Kaepernick in taking a knee during the national anthem this season. Marshall started his protest in Week 1, when the Broncos squared off against the Carolina Panthers in a highly anticipated Super Bowl 50 rematch that was nationally televised on NBC. At the time, he said he’d continue to kneel until there was change and insisted he wasn’t against the military, police or America.
Instead, Marshall said he was against social injustice.
That’s why it’s a big deal that Marshall ended his protest on Sunday by standing for the national anthem when the Broncos faced the Oakland Raiders. He didn’t keep the public wondering why he decided to end it, either, as he took to Instagram to say he’s “encouraged with the many productive discussions and progress that has taken place as the Denver Police Department has decided to review its use of force policy.”
Marshall also said he knows his work isn’t done and he’ll “continue to recognize and support organizations that are stepping up as leaders and making a real difference in our community.” Marshall already pledged to donate $300 per tackle made this season to local charities, and he mentioned on Instagram that he has since donated to the Idriss Stelley Foundation in honor of O’Shaine Evans.
For the 1st half of the season, I’ve been taking a knee for the National Anthem to raise awareness for social injustice and to start conversation about what all of us can do to make a positive change. I’m encouraged with the many productive discussions and progress that has taken place as the Denver Police department has decided to review its use of force policy. I’m proud to have joined so many of my peers throughout sports who’ve also made their own statements. Going forward, I will be standing for the National Anthem—not because everything is perfect, or because I’m changing my stance on things. But because of my hope for what we can become. Just because I am standing doesn’t mean the work will end. There’s much work to be done. I’ll continue to recognize and support organizations that are stepping up as leaders and making a real difference in our community, and I will do my part to be there for those in need. One of those organizations is the Idriss Stelley Foundation, a grassroots organization in the Bay Area that offer free support to victims of police violence. I’ll be standing for them and the family of the late O’Shaine Evans—on Sunday night in addition to making a donation from my Tackle Change program to further the meaningful work of this group. I really appreciate the support from my family, teammates, coaches and fans. I’m grateful for those who have taken the time to hear me out. I’m excited for what all of us can accomplish when we truly work together.
Don’t forget that Marshall lost a couple of endorsement deals – first the Air Academy Federal Credit Union, then CenturyLink – as a result of his protest. He’s been focused on making a change, and he believes his efforts are starting to pay off.