The Washington PostDemocracy Dies in Darkness

Broncos’ Brandon Marshall loses endorsement deal over national anthem protest

Denver inside linebacker Brandon Marshall kneels during Thursday’s national anthem. (Ron Chenoy/USA Today Sports)

Denver Broncos lineman Brandon Marshall’s decision to kneel in protest while the national anthem played ahead of the team’s 21-20 victory over the Panthers on Thursday has cost him an endorsement. On Friday, the Air Academy Federal Credit Union said it cut ties with the athlete over his action.

Fans angrily tweet wrong Brandon Marshall after linebacker kneels during anthem

“Although we have enjoyed Brandon Marshall as our spokesperson over the past five months, Air Academy Federal Credit Union (AAFCU) has ended our partnership,” Glenn Strebe, AAFCU’s president and CEO wrote on the company’s Facebook page. “AAFCU is a membership-based organization who has proudly served the military community for over 60 years. 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.”

Marshall had not commented on AAFCU’s decision as of Friday afternoon but said Thursday night that he expected backlash, despite making clear that his protest was not meant to be a sign of disrespect to the military.

“I prayed long and hard about it, and I felt it was the right thing to do,” Marshall told Sports Illustrated’s MMQB after the game. “It is what it is; I’m standing up for what I believe in. I know my family will support me.

“I’m not against the police. I’m not against the military. I’m not against America. I’m against social injustice. This movement is something special. People are going to bash me on social media, but at the end of the day I’m going to go home and sleep peacefully knowing what I did was right. I will not lose any sleep.”

Marshall’s protest follows those of San Francisco 49ers backup quarterback Colin Kaepernick and U.S. soccer star Megan Rapinoe, both of whom also recently took a knee during the anthem to protest race relations in the United States.