For the first time during the 2016 NFL season, Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall was seen standing during the playing of the national anthem before his team’s game against the Oakland Raiders. In Marshall’s previous seven games this year, the linebacker took a knee before each contest while the national anthem was played.
So why the sudden change?
The Broncos’ linebacker took to Instagram on Monday to explain how he ultimately came to the decision to no longer kneel during the national anthem.
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.
Marshall’s main reasoning for his decision to stand for the remainder of the season is that he is satisfied with impact his protest has made on the procedures of the Denver Police Department. The linebacker claims in his post that his anthem protest had an impact on the police department’s decision to review its use of force policy.
For the 1st 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. 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. One of those organizations is the Idriss Stelley Foundation, a grassroots organization in the Bay Area that offer free support to victims of police violence. I’ll be standing for them and the family of the late O’Shaine Evans—on Sunday night in addition to making a donation from my Tackle Change program to further the meaningful work of this group. I really appreciate the support from my family, teammates, coaches and fans. I’m grateful for those who have taken the time to hear me out. I’m excited for what all of us can accomplish when we truly work together.
Protesting on the field has not been the only way in which Marshall has been an activist this year. He also donates $300 to local youth charities for every tackle he makes during the season.
In a league where a number of players are continuing to get arrested for driving drunk or abusing their spouses, it is really a breath of fresh air that Marshall is using his platform to make a positive impact on society.
For anyone that was, or still is, opposed to a player kneeling during the national anthem, he or she must be informed about the player’s reasoning for their protest. NFL players trying to raise awareness in order to improve the way of life for a number of communities in the United States today is a great way in which these men have chosen to use their unique access to the national spotlight.