Denver Broncos Brandon Marshall had some strong words on Thursday when talking about the NFL’s new national anthem policy, and especially in response to President Donald Trump’s suggestion that players who remain in the locker room under the new rule “shouldn’t be in the country.”
The 28-year-old linebacker was one of Colin Kaepernick’s teammates at Nevada, and has kneeled in the past. He has also met with Denver police to discuss use-of-force policies, one of the items at the root of players’ protests.
Donald Trump comments are ‘disgusting’
Marshall didn’t hold back when asked about Trump’s comment to Fox News in a Thursday morning interview, when he said in that the NFL’s resolution, announced on Wednesday was “good” but those who remain in the locker room “maybe shouldn’t be in the country.”
“I say ‘disgusting’ because of our First Amendment rights,” Marshall said. “We have freedom of speech, right? Freedom to protest? Because somebody decides to protest something, now have to be kicked out of the country? That’s not how things should work, in my opinion. … Just because somebody disagrees with something, or if I didn’t stand for the anthem, or if I don’t like what’s going on, that’s basically him saying I should be kicked out the country.
“We’re supposed to have a conversation about things, talk about things, work things through. Everybody is not gonna agree on things, everybody is not gonna have the same opinion on things. So just because somebody disagrees or has an issue with something that’s going on in this country, it doesn’t mean that they should pack up and leave. That’s absurd, in my opinion.”
It’s also unconstitutional. For all the social-media screaming that private employers can enact rules against protest, the First Amendment states the government cannot.
Kneeling is ‘a symbol’
Like many players, Marshall does not like the NFL’s new policy, which owners enacted without input from players or the NFL Players’ Association.
“I don’t like it, but that’s my opinion. I don’t like it. I understand it, though. I don’t like it, but I understand it and what they’re trying to protect — they’re trying to protect the shield,” using parlance for the league logo.
“The reason we did this in the first place was to bring attention to police brutality,” Marshall said. “That’s the reason why we took a knee, and that was just a symbol of what was going on, just like the flag is a symbol of America. So taking a knee was a symbol, and the work came after that. Colin has been doing work, I’ve been doing work, Malcolm Jenkins, a bunch of guys have been doing work. So to me, the knee wasn’t the end all, be all. There should have been action behind the knee, and there was.”
Marshall also believes more players may remain in the locker room, at least initially, because of the new rule; they’ll want to “just rebel,” he said.
He added that the Broncos, including former head coach Gary Kubiak, team president and CEO Joe Ellis, and his position coach, Reggie Herring, “have my back … This organization has been good to me.”
Doug Baldwin also has strong reaction
Marshall wasn’t the only player who expressed a strong opinion of Trump’s most recent words about players who protest.
“He’s an idiot. Plain and simple,” Seattle Seahawks receiver Baldwin said. “I respect the man because he’s a human being, first and foremost. But he’s just being more divisive, which is not surprising. It is what it is. For him to say that anyone who doesn’t follow his viewpoints or his constituents’ viewpoints should be kicked out of the country, it’s not very empathetic, it’s not very American-like, actually, to me. It’s not very patriotic. It’s not what this country was founded upon.
“It’s kind of ironic to me that the President of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on.”
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