Brandon Marshall just lost his first endorsement deal since taking a knee in protest of the national anthem on Thursday night, but he’s not going to run and hide.
Marshall disagrees with the concept that his decision to kneel during the national anthem should bring his patriotism into question.
The Denver Broncos linebacker told reporters that he’s not non-patriotic and that he’s simply exercising the rights the military fights for.
“As far as my patriotism, we have freedom of speech in this land.” Marshall told reporters Friday, via Mike Florio of Pro Football Talk. “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 utmost 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.”
The NFL and the Broncos have stated that all players are free to do as they wish during the national anthem, but commissioner Roger Goodell also implied that the move does mesh with the league's motto.
”I support our players when they want to see change in society, and we don’t live in a perfect society,” Goodell said. ”On the other hand, we believe very strongly in patriotism in the NFL. I personally believe very strongly in that.”
Marshall said he hopes other players join him in his protest.