Denver Broncos player Brandon Marshall has now lost his second endorsement after kneeling during the national anthem before Thursday’s game against the Carolina Panthers.
Marshall is the first player to have reportedly lost endorsements over the protest.
On Thursday night, before the league’s nationally broadcasted opening game between the Broncos and the Panthers, Marshall kneeled during the course of its anthem, a sign of solidarity with San Francisco 49 ers quarterback( and Marshall’s University of Nevada teammate) Colin Kaepernick, whose protests have become one of the dominant storylines as the 2016 season get underway.
Just as with the first incident, Marshall was at peace with government decisions, telling ESPN, “I just lost another endorsement. But it’s not going to stimulate me lose any sleep … I understand there will be things that come up, criticism and support. I simply have to do what I think is right.”
In a statement, CenturyLink acknowledged its “respect” for Marshall and “the right of individuals to express their beliefs.” But, the company said, “we also occasionally must stand together to depict our allegiance to our common bond as a nation … “the member states national” anthem is one of those moments.”
CenturyLink also happens to be the company that holds the naming rights to the stadium that hosts the Seattle Seahawks, whose Doug Baldwin participated in a preseason anthem protest.
Baldwin and his teammates took part in one of several small protests held around the league on Sunday. The Seahawks all linked limbs and stood during the course of its anthem before their game against the Miami Dolphins.
Meanwhile, four Dolphins players knelt during the course of its anthem and three players, Marcus Peters of the Kansas City Chiefs and the New England Patriots’ Devin McCourty and Martellus Bennett, hold back fists during the anthem, a move reminiscent of Tommie Smith and John Carlos at the 1968 Summer Olympics.
All eyes will be on Kaepernick on Monday night when the 49 ers open their regular season at home against the Los Angeles Rams in a game nationally broadcasted on ESPN( 10:20 p.m. ET ).
In the wake of his protests, sale of Kaepernick’s jersey have skyrocketed, with the QB telling he’ll donate the proceeds from his jersey marketings to various charities.