Brandon Marshall 'A Little Surprised' by John Elway's Comments on Anthem Protest

Timothy Rapp@@TRappaRTFeatured ColumnistAugust 23, 2017

Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) kneels during the national anthem prior to an NFL football game against the Atlanta Falcons, Sunday, Oct. 9, 2016, in Denver. (AP Photo/Jack Dempsey)
Jack Dempsey/Associated Press

Last week, Denver Broncos executive vice president of football operations and general manager John Elway praised linebacker Brandon Marshall for accompanying his national anthem protest before games last season with community outreach.

On Tuesday, Marshall said he wasn't sure how Elway and the organization felt about his protest.

"Honestly, I was a little surprised," he told James Palmer of NFL.com. "Honestly, because I didn't know how the organization viewed me after [my decision to protest last year]. I didn't know how they saw me. So, when that happened, it was a sigh of relief. I knew the coaches and [Gary] Kubiak had my back and I knew my teammates had my back, I just didn't know how the organization felt. So it felt good to hear that."

Last Thursday, Elway spoke about Marshall and his decision to kneel during the anthem.

"Brandon made a point last year, but he carried it forward," he said. "He just didn't make a stand on the field before the games, he actually went out in the community and did something and talked to different people. He went and talked to law enforcement and got involved in the community. I was proud of Brandon in not only did he show his support for what it was last year, but also he went out and did something in the community."

The decision to protest during the anthem has been controversial since former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began doing so last preseason in protest of social injustice.

And while Kaepernick is still without an NFL team this summer, protests during the anthem have continued in earnest. On Monday, 12 members of the Cleveland Browns took a knee and prayed during the anthem.

"There's a lot of racial and social injustices in the world that are going on right now," rookie safety Jabrill Peppers said after the game, per Pat McManamon of ESPN.com. "We just decided to take a knee and pray for the people who have been affected and just pray for the world in general."

Oakland Raiders running back Marshawn Lynch has also sat through the anthem during the preseason.

And following the statement from Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett on SportsCenter that having white players involved in the protests would change the conversation around the topic—those against the protests have said they are disrespectful to the country and members of the military—Seattle's Justin Britt, Philadelphia's Chris Long and Oakland's Derek Carr joined the protests by making gestures of support for African-American teammates: 

Michael Gehlken @GehlkenNFL

Derek Carr placed his right hand on Khalil Mack's jersey for entirety of national anthem tonight. https://t.co/hlt2LGqtL2

"I respect it. I respect it all," Marshall said of the various protests around the league. "I'm glad everybody is standing up for what they believe in. I'm glad everybody is doing what they feel is right. It's a tough time right now in the country. These riots, the white nationalists, the white supremacy, whatever. But also with Kaepernick still being unemployed. I respect [people coming together] and I'm happy that everybody is doing what they feel is right."