Former Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall joined former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick in his kneeling during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice in America during the 2016 NFL season.
Marshall has been revisiting his decision to participate as protests have been underway in all 50 states and worldwide seeking an end to police brutality and racial injustice following the killing of George Floyd in Minneapolis police custody May 25.
"That's something that we spoke about four years ago," Marshall told Complex's Zach Frydenlund. "And people looked at us. And I received a letter, a threatening letter. Somebody was saying they were going to put me in a wheelchair, call me all kind of N-words, and derogatory terms. I'm sure Kap received the same. Somebody came to my facility and burned one of my jerseys. And I lost two endorsements."
The Super Bowl 50 champion added:
"I definitely believe that it came back on me a little bit because even when I was healthy, teams probably wanted to stay away from me because of my political stance. But, I think I'll be able to get back in the league. I know I have some interest out there. So, I've been training, working hard. But, I do think it held a little weight. Definitely held some weight."
Marshall last played in 2018. The Broncos allowed him to test free agency, and he signed a one-year deal with the then-Oakland Raiders before getting cut in August 2019. The Raiders re-signed Marshall in late October, but he never appeared in a game for the team.
The 30-year-old has been outspoken since Floyd's killing:
Marshall posted an Instagram photo of him kneeling during the national anthem as a Bronco with the following caption earlier this week:
"Been fighting this fight since 2016, others have been fighting it way before I was born. The ongoing racism and injustice in this country towards people of color can no longer be swept under the rug, and dismissed by those it 'doesn't apply to.' It applies to everyone. Black, White and Brown people have taken the streets, finally banned together and are tired of this injustice. Change will happen when not only people of color speak up and care about this issue, but white people as well.
"The sacrifices some of my NFL brothers made for protesting these injustices peacefully while at work have not gone in vain. We brought awareness to the issue, but it wasn't enough. It continued to happen and now the people are fed up, hence the riots. Now it's time for the law makers, policy makers, and judicial system to make the necessary changes so that the 'freedom and justice for all' narrative can finally apply to EVERYONE."
Floyd was pronounced dead at nearby Minneapolis hospital shortly after since-fired police officer Derek Chauvin knelt on the back of his neck for eight minutes and 46 seconds. An independent autopsy released Monday linked Chauvin's actions to Floyd's death:
Chauvin was arrested and charged with third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter May 29, but his charges were increased by Minnesota Attorney General Keith Ellison earlier Wednesday. The three other former officers involved in Floyd's arrest were formally charged with aiding and abetting Wednesday.