Denver Broncos wide-receiver Brandon Marshall joined the other players protesting on Thursday night
Denver Broncos wide receiver Brandon Marshall will pay the price for joining in with the protests against the national anthem that have dominated the headlines in the NFL over the last number of weeks.
The conversation was started during the pre-season by San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who first sat and then later kneeled while 'The Star Spangled Banner' was played. His simple gesture quickly garnered both support and criticism, with players such as Drew Brees saying he should find another way to express his opinion, and members of the military lending their support to his right to highlight the issue of social injustice.
On Thursday night, as the season proper kicked off with a re-match of the Super Bowl between the Denver Broncos and the Carolina Panthers, Brandon Marshall decided to join in on the protests (Eric Reid and Jeremy Lane have also been involved) and has been dropped by one of his sponsors as a result.
In a statement on Friday, Air Academy Federal Credit Union said that they would be parting ways with Marshall and that: "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."
Speaking after the game, which the Broncos edged by a single point, Marshall said that he hadn't made his mind up on whether or not to protest until seconds before the anthem began.
"I thought about it all the way up until when the lady was going to start singing," revealed Marshall, while speaking to Yahoo.com. "I was like, hmm, they're going to get on me. At the end of the day, I'm definitely good with my decision."
Reiterating the purpose of the protest, Marshall added that: "I’m against social injustice. I’m not against the military, the police or America at all. I’m against social injustice. I felt this was the right thing to do."
Marshall has become the first of the players who have protested so far to lose a sponsorship deal over their actions, but with a full slate of games scheduled for Sunday, there may well be others who decided to join in and replicate the gesture.