Brandon Marshall Loses Endorsement Deals After National Anthem Protest

Alec Nathan@@AlecBNathanFeatured Columnist

Sep 8, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) kneels during the national anthem before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall knelt during the national anthem before a 21-20 win over the Carolina Panthers on Sept. 8, and his actions cost him an endorsement deal with the Air Academy Federal Credit Union.

In a statement posted on Facebook on Sept. 9, Air Academy Federal Credit Union president and CEO Glenn Strebe explained the company's decision to part ways with Marshall:

Although we have enjoyed Brandon Marshall as our spokesperson over the past five months, Air Academy Federal Credit Union (AAFCU) has ended our partnership. AAFCU is a membership-based organization who has proudly served the military community for over 60 years. While we respect Brandon's right of expression, his actions are not a representation of our organization and membership. We wish Brandon well on his future endeavors.

On Monday, Marshall told reporters CenturyLink dropped him as a spokesman as well.

"I don't regret anything," Marshall said in reaction to the decisions. "Hate can't drive out hate," Marshall added. "Only love can drive out hate."

CenturyLink provided a statement on dropping Marshall on Monday, via Cameron Wolfe of the Denver Post:

Cameron Wolfe @CameronWolfe

CenturyLink's statement on dropping Brandon Marshall just 1 month after he signed an endorsement deal. https://t.co/5ex7Ezoo2b

Marshall knelt in a display of solidarity with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has opted against standing for "The Star-Spangled Banner" in a silent protest against social inequality.

"I'm just against social injustice," Marshall said on Sept. 8, according to Allison Sylte on 9News.com. "Honestly, I'm a man of faith, so I prayed about it long and hard, and I feel like that was the right thing to do."

Marshall later posted an image to Instagram that night, reiterating that he wasn't kneeling in protest against the military:

The Broncos linebacker, who was a college teammate of Kaepernick's with the Nevada Wolf Pack, also noted he plans to give back to the community, per Mike Klis on 9News.com:

Colin is my fraternity brother, my ex-teammate, and I believe in what he's trying to do. I believe in his actions, so I definitely want to stand by him. At the same time, I didn't want to just do it as far as "I'm going to take a knee," but I will also donate to programs for veterans and different things like that. I'm going to be active in this.