In August, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sparked a wave of criticism and praise when he kneeled during the national anthem before a preseason game, protesting racial inequality and police brutality in the United States.
Some players and former players took umbrage with the gesture while others followed Kaepernick's lead. Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall was among the players to join when he took a knee during the anthem before the Broncos played the Panthers in the NFL's kickoff on September 8.
“I’m not against the police. I’m not against the military. I’m not against America. I’m against social injustice. This movement is something special. People are going to bash me on social media but at the end of the day I’m going to go home and sleep peacefully knowing what I did was right. I will not lose any sleep.”
According to a posting by Marshall on Wednesday, he spent the week that followed the game meeting with figures in the community about social injustice, including the Denver Police Department's Chief Robert C. White. Read Marshall's full statement in which he also discusses his involvement with local social organizations. (In case the Instagram print is too small, scroll down further for transcript.)
On Thursday, Sept. 8, I took a knee for the National Anthem to take a stand against social injustice. My intent was not to offend anyone but rather to simply raise awareness and create some dialogue toward affecting positive change in our communities. In the last week, I’ve had a lot of productive conversations with people I respect, including Chief White of the Denver Police Department. I really appreciate all of them taking the time to listen to me and offer some insight and feedback on ways we can all make a difference. I’ve also had a lot of time to personally reflect on important issues such as race and gender equality, the treatment of our military veterans, our relationship with law enforcement, educational opportunities for our youth, and many more. I recognize and applaud the significant progress that has been made in these areas made possible only through the hard work of so many dedicated leaders. But, it’s clear there is so more work to be done by all of us. Together, we all need to Stand Up for change. This starts with me. My work with the Rose Andom Center to stop domestic violence is fulfilling and close to my heart. But I need to do more. I plan to be involved with several other organizations that benefit the Denver community and others through the services, awareness and funds they provide for these critical social issues. And I will donate 300 dollars for every tackle I make this season to those programs. You can track these contributions on social media through #TackleChange. I’m truly grateful for the support I’ve received from so many people, especially my teammates. I look forward to preparing with them and focusing on an important game Sunday against the Colts.