For the first time this season, Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall remained standing for the national anthem.
He took back his decision when the Denver Police Department decided to rewrite its use-of-force policy.
“For the first 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," Marshall wrote on his Instagram account.
“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.”
Since his protest began in August, Kaepernick's jersey has become a top-seller and fans at the 49ers' home stadium have often chanted "We want Kaep" during games. But he also got a lot of flak for his stand. Yet he was adamant and prepared for rejection by the public and did not warn anyone of his plans.
"If they take football away, my endorsements from me, I know that I stood up for what is right," Kaepernick said.
Despite the criticism and threats, the act of defiance spread to 48 NFL players, nine NBA teams, 14 WNBA players, one gold medal swimmer, one pro women’s soccer player, 52 high schools, 39 colleges, one middle school, and two youth football teams in 35 states across the United States, along with Brazil, Canada and England.
Marshall also faced a lot of criticism and lost two endorsement deals. However, nothing daunted him and he kept at it — even now, he promises to continue his struggle for the movement. He has donated $300 for each tackle he makes this season to organizations in the Denver community that address racial inequality, and plans to continue those donations.
He has also met with Denver police multiple times in recent months, particularly Chief Robert White, who was in charge of revamping the department’s use-of-force policy. The revamped policy encourages officers to use as little force as necessary and provides specific situational guidelines for them to follow.
“I’m of the opinion it’s just not good enough for officers to take legal actions, but they also need to make sure those actions are absolutely necessary,” Chief White said. “That’s where we are going.”
Marshall says that going forward, he will be working closely with the Idriss Shelby Foundation, an organization in the Oakland area that provides free assistance and support to victims of police brutality.
“Just because I am standing doesn’t mean the work will end,” Marshall says. “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.”
Banner/thumbnail credit: Reuters, Mike Blake