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Brandon Marshall shows true courage in the face of hostile backlash

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Regardless of how you feel, it’s also what makes this country so great.

NFL: Carolina Panthers at Denver Broncos Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports

Courage: “Strength in the face of pain or grief.”

Brandon Marshall decided to take a knee.

The result is another chapter in a heated national discussion that started when San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick refused to stand in observance of the National Anthem.

Hopefully people don’t lose sight of the overall point of Marshall’s message.

“First of all, I’m not against the military. I’m not against the police or America,” the Denver Broncos linebacker said after the NFL’s season-opening win. “I’m just against social injustice. Honestly, I’m a man of faith so I prayed about it long and hard and I feel like that was the right thing to do.”

Anytime the National Anthem is brought into the fray, emotions run high. Some get defensive and view any breach of etiquette as a slight against the country they love. And that’s their right.

It’s also Marshall’s right to express himself over something that intensely clashes with his core values. After an internal struggle and discussion with his family, Marshall decided to take a knee. He did so knowing full well the backlash that would head his way.

That backlash is certainly coming in full force – just check out his mentions on social media. Most of which come in the form of “He should go serve in the military.” There is a tinge of hypocrisy in the people speaking out against a man speaking out.

Despite all of that, Marshall went forward.

He still decided to take a knee.

“The message is that I’m against social injustice,” Marshall said. “I’m not against the military, the police or America at all. I’m against social injustice and I feel like this was the right thing to do. This was the right platform. This is our only platform to really be heard.

“At times people want us to just shut up and entertain them; shut up and play football, but we have voices as well. We are actually educated individuals that went to college. When we have an opinion and we speak it, I feel like a lot of people bash us for what we have to say.”

However you feel, that takes courage.

It’s also what makes this country so great.

People need to get over any perceived slights against America. Enough with the chest pumping on who loves the country more. Once the kids in the room decide to go to bed, the adults can debate and perhaps even try to solve what Marshall is protesting.

Are we as a nation doing enough?

What can we do better? How can we do better?

How can we help those who are in these situations not be in these situations?

“I think that’s what it’s really about; to create a dialogue, to be able to talk so we can hopefully create change,” he said. “I think the more that people do it and the more that it’s seen – there’s going to be hate mail, hate comments, but at the same time, there are people that are going to say, ‘OK …’”

The best way to bring about change is to not stand for the status quo. If you see something that goes against what you believe, respond. Protest. Voice your disapproval to bring about that change.

Force people to feel uneasy.

Make them uncomfortable.

Challenge them on what they believe and feel is right.

When it comes to social injustice, Marshall decided enough is enough. He felt he had to do something, regardless of the consequences or backlash.

That takes courage, however you feel about the message he’s forcing us all to look at.

“A lot of the stuff that happened in the summer, the police brutality ... I think that sparked a conversation,” Marshall said. “That sparked things. I think Colin (Kaepernick) figured, ‘What’s the best way that I can get my message out?’ We can talk all we want, but actions speak louder than words.

“So when we actually took a knee or sat down, he got people thinking, ‘Oh, hold on, what are you doing?’ After that, he was able to say everything that he felt and everything he meant.”

Marshall decided to take a knee.

Hopefully we all can find the same kind of courage.

Hopefully we all love this country enough to not accept what is and do what is needed to make it better.