Marshall, along with several others in the league, joined Kaepernick repeatedly in kneeling during the national anthem during the 2016 season to protest social injustice in the country.
Now, following the killing of George Floyd and the massive, widespread protests and riots that have ensued in cities across the United States in recent days, Marshall thinks people might finally be getting the message.
“Back then, we were called rogues, people said that we didn’t deserve jobs, but this is what we were talking about then,” Marshall said Monday, via ESPN. “I think people are looking at [Kaepernick] now like, ‘OK, maybe he knew.’ People didn’t want to hear the message after ‘oh they were kneeling’ they didn’t want that message, weren’t ready for it, didn’t listen.
“I hope, and I look at it, I hope people are ready for the message, I really hope they’re ready for change.”
Marshall spent seven years in the league, his final six of which were with the Broncos after playing his rookie season with the Jacksonville Jaguars. He recorded 106 total tackles during the 2017 season, his last full one in the NFL, and recovered one fumble.
Marshall, who played with Kaepernick in college at Nevada, lost several sponsorships and endorsements after he started kneeling in 2016.
But four years later, Marshall is hopeful after watching protests — and the different types of people who have made up those protests — in recent days.
“That’s what brings change, people coming together, when it’s a people thing, not just a black and brown thing,” Marshall said, via ESPN. “You see people taking to the streets, it’s a mixed crowd, it’s not just black people, it’s everybody. That is what it takes for change, everybody has to care about it, back then not everybody cared about it.
“We need everybody to care about this, not to see it as just a black or brown problem. When people see this as a people problem, and not a black person’s problem or a person of color’s problem, then we can have real change. I look at all of the faces in the real, peaceful protests and I see maybe we’re ready to listen now. Maybe we’re ready to see it as a people problem and that real, lasting, effective change can happen.”
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