DENVER — Broncos starting linebacker Brandon Marshall, a teammate of Colin Kaepernick‘s while in college at Nevada, knelt during the national anthem before Thursday night’s NFL season opener against the Carolina Panthers.
Marshall, who is active in community work, took a knee just before the national anthem and remained in that stance until the song was completed. The Broncos players were lined up, standing on the sideline, and Marshall was at the end of the line on the south end of Sports Authority Field at Mile High.
No other players were seen sitting or kneeling during the national anthem.
Marshall, the team’s second-leading tackler during its run to a Super Bowl title last season, has expressed support for Kaepernick, who initially opted to not stand during the anthem in the preseason due to what he believes is racial injustice and police brutality.
“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 Thursday night.
Midway through the second quarter, Marshall was taken to the locker room to be evaluated for a concussion before later being cleared to return. The Broncos won the game, 21-20.
Earlier in the preseason, Broncos coach Gary Kubiak said that “I want our guys to stand for the national anthem. … My dad taught me two things that I believe in strongly. He told me to believe in my values and those types of things in life, and obviously I believe in our country and the national anthem very strongly. But at the same time, he taught me to respect other people’s beliefs and values, so I do that.
“Our guys do a great job. But I don’t babysit guys. I let them handle themselves. We tell our guys: ‘Be yourself. Be your best self.'”