By Jeff Todd
DENVER (CBS4) – As endorsement deals continue to get terminated, Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall said he will once again kneel during the national anthem on Sunday at soon-to-be-renamed Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
“I didn’t know to what level or what extent but it’s kind of crazy to me,” Marshall said about the criticism he’s received since Thursday. “They don’t support me but all the people in the military support me. You’d think it would be the other way around but it is what it is.”
Marshall said he’s spoken with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, a former college teammate, about the protest for “social justice.”
“I’m with Kap as far as police laws that could be changed. I just heard that the mayor of Denver is pledging some money to increase police exams, just different things like that. There’s a lot of oppression still. People that aren’t minorities, they don’t know what it’s like to a minority. But if you’re not a minority you don’t really understand.
“I speak for everybody when I say that, because I know they agree with me,” Marshall said.
A man burned a Marshall t-shirt in front of Broncos headquarters on Monday as an autograph session was canceled in Colorado Springs.
CenturyLink became the second company to announce ending an endorsement deal with Marshall.
“We completely respect Brandon Marshall’s personal decision and right to take an action to support something in which he strongly believes. America is anchored in the right of individuals to express their beliefs. While we acknowledge Brandon’s right, we also believe that whatever issues we face, we also occasionally must stand together to show our allegiance to our common bond as a nation. In our view, the national anthem is one of those moments. For this reason, while we wish Brandon the best this season, we are politely terminating our agreement with him,” the company said in a statement released on Monday.
Marshall said he will be meeting with Denver Police Chief Robert White on Tuesday.
“I feel strongly about it and you know I just lost another endorsement today which is cool. CenturyLink decided to drop me today. I’m still doing what I believe in. It’s not going to make me lose any sleep at the end of the day. I’m going to play football and do what I believe in,” Marshall said.
The Denver chapter of Black Lives Matter said they support Marshall and gave CBS4 the following statement:
“BLM5280 fully endorses Brandon Marshall’s decision to kneel during the national anthem at last Thursday’s game. Not only does it represent an expression of his right to freedom of speech, but it also centers core values of what it means to be a citizen of the United States. BLM5280 is glad to see people taking individual actions in support of social change in spite of what affect it may have on their corporate endorsements. For example, the WNBA players’ action to stand for social change in July took great courage and resulted in financial loss. Activism comes with sacrifice, and we affirm professional athletes’ ability to think and act with complete agency even at the cost of corporate sponsorship. We cannot place a dollar value on continuing the effort to building more loving and just communities. #RightsOfConsciousness #BLM5280”
“If you want to get some people’s attention, spark conversation, this is the perfect thing to do. No matter if it offended people or not,” Marshall said.
Jeff Todd joined the CBS4 team in 2011 covering the Western Slope in the Mountain Newsroom. Since 2015 he’s been working across the Front Range in the Denver Headquarters. Follow him on Twitter @CBS4Jeff.