Denver Broncos' Marshall kneels in protest during national anthem

Fri Sep 9, 2016 6:50am EDT
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(Reuters) - Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall became the latest athlete to kneel during the U.S. national anthem in a protest against social injustice before his team's game against the Carolina Panthers on Thursday.

Marshall, following in the path of San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, knelt on the sideline before the anthem began, and remained in that position while his team mates stood to his left.

"The message is I'm against social injustice," Marshall said after the game, according to "I'm not against the military or police or America at all. I'm against social injustice and I feel like this was the right thing to do."

Marshall, who is black, is the third NFL player to not stand during the national anthem since Kaepernick began his sideline protest against racial injustice and police brutality.

Kaepernick's teammate Eric Reid joined in the protest during the 49ers' pre-season finale last week while Seattle Seahawks cornerback Jeremy Lane sat on the bench last week against the Oakland Raiders.

The NFL's opening week resumes Sunday with 13 games and some players, including Seattle receiver Doug Baldwin and defensive end Cliff Avril have said they are considering not standing during the national anthem before their game against Miami.

Many Americans saw Kaepernick's gesture as a sign of disrespect to the flag and criticism was widespread, but he has also been supported by several fellow athletes, including Megan Rapinoe, a white soccer player who knelt before her game on Sunday.

"While we encourage members of our organization to stand during the national anthem, we understand and respect it being a personal decision," the Broncos said in a statement.

Marshall, who was Denver's second-leading tackler during their run to a Super Bowl title last season and a teammate of Kaepernick at the University of Nevada, said last week that he supported Kaepernick's actions.   Continued...

Sep 8, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) kneels during the national anthem next to defensive end Jared Crick (93) and defensive tackle Billy Winn (97) and defensive tackle Adam Gotsis (99) before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports