New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall moonlights as a commentator on Showtime's Inside the NFL, and the pro football pundit wasn't short on opinions when it came to the reversal of Tom Brady's Deflategate suspension.
According to ESPN.com's Rich Cimini, Marshall appeared on the program Tuesday and discussed why he believed Brady's suspension was ultimately overturned by Judge Richard Berman.
"The race card," Marshall said, per Cimini. "There are a lot of players out there that believe that white players—specifically, at the quarterback position—are treated differently."
Citing his own experience in locker rooms across the league, Marshall analyzed the viewpoints of different players and how they related back to the Brady suspension. Along with "the race card," Marshall suggested two other mentalities, per Cimini:
No. 1 is the fighter. I think there are guys in the fight with Tom. When one player's rights are upheld, then all players' rights are upheld. It's not about what he did, if he's right or wrong. It's more about the process. Is it fair?
The second is cowards -- I call them cowards. That's the guys that are afraid to face Tom Brady. They want him suspended; I don't believe in that.
When Inside the NFL host Adam Schein asked Marshall if he believed black players were held to a different standard than white players, he responded in the affirmative.
"Absolutely," Marshall said, according to NJ.com's Dom Cosentino. "At times, at times, at times, yes."
However, Marshall noted later in the program that all players are frustrated with the way the league has decided to hand out seemingly arbitrary punishments.
"It's just not African-American players," Marshall said, per Cosentino. "I've had this conversation with Caucasian players as well. The most important part of this whole discussion is the process for the players. They just want the process to be fair and right. They just want to get it right."
Earlier Tuesday, commissioner Roger Goodell appeared on Mike & Mike and told the ESPN Radio team that he was "open to changing" his role in the league's discipline process, according to ESPN.com.
If Goodell follows through and relinquishes his power as it pertains to player conduct, Marshall and his peers could gain some clarity on a hot-button issue that has dominated the NFL offseason.