Earlier this week, the NFL announced it would be enacting a new policy for the national anthem following the highly publicized protests of police brutality and racial injustice throughout the 2017 season. The new policy states that players can remain in the locker room during the pre-kickoff ceremony, but the team will be fined if a player kneels on-field during the national anthem. The policy switch provoked a response from Donald Trump, who said that players who continue to kneel "shouldn't be in the country."
Those sentiments have garnered a reaction from noted protestor and Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, who who told USA Today that Trump's comments were disgusting.
"I say 'disgusting' because of our First Amendment rights,'' Marshall said. "We have freedom of speech, right? Freedom to protest? Because somebody decides to protest something, now [we] have to be kicked out of the country? That's not how things should work, in my opinion.... Just because somebody disagrees with something, or if I didn't stand for the anthem, or if I don't like what's going on, that's basically him saying I should be kicked out the country."
He continued, "We're supposed to have a conversation about things, talk about things, work things through. Everybody is not gonna agree on things. Everybody is not gonna have the same opinion on things. So just because somebody disagrees or has an issue with something that's going on in this country, it doesn't mean that they should pack up and leave. That's absurd, in my opinion."
Along with his strong response to Trump, Marshall also said that although he did not agree with the NFL's new policy change, he understands that they are just interested in "protecting the shield." In other words, the league is only concerned about reputation.
In 2016, Marshall was reportedly involved in an incident in Miami where was handcuffed and threatened with a Taser. He has stated that this helped him better understand Colin Kaepernick's protests when they first began back in 2016. Marshall and Kaepernick were teammates at the University of Nevada and the Broncos linebacker was one of the first players to join Kap by kneeling before claiming to see growth from the local police in the Denver community and ending his participation.
He is not the only one who has voiced their displeasure with the NFL's latest attempt to thwart the anthem protests. Philadelphia Eagles safety Malcolm Jenkins said he "will not let it silence [him]."
Golden State Warriors head coach Steve Kerr delivered a rather blunt response of his own, calling the NFL "idiotic."