An NFL player who knelt during the national anthem is receiving an outpouring of support from his fans and teammates after he received a letter filled with racist and threatening language.
Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall posted the handwritten letter Friday on his Instagram page. (Warning: Link includes graphic language.)
The letter, which includes profanity, numerous mentions of the N-word and other racial slurs, threatens Marshall by saying “Your time is coming, watch out n*****!”
The threat continues on the back of the letter: “We are ‘channeling’ a devastating hit for you!! Something to make you an invalid in a wheelchair!!”
Marshall joined Colin Kaepernick and others in protest during Denver’s season opener September 8 by taking a knee during the national anthem.
The letter appeared to address the protests directly, saying “If you are sooo unhappy with America, turn in your ‘millions’ and move back to the jungle!”
Disguised as fan mail
Marshall said on Instagram that he received the letter at work. A Broncos spokesperson said Marshall brought the letter to the team’s attention a few weeks ago and that the security department is currently looking into it.
Marshall said the letter looked like it was written by a child.
“On the front it said, ‘Ms. Jackson’s sixth-grade class,’ but I doubt it was from Ms. Jackson’s sixth-grade class. I’m pretty sure they just put that as a cover and on the back it said, ‘We love you Mr. Marshall.’ They wanted to make sure that I got it.”
In his post, Marshall wrote, “The hatred by some against people of color is one of the reasons we are where we’re at in the world today, and they wonder why we feel the way we do and take the stances that we take.”
Broncos running back C.J. Anderson quickly tweeted his support, saying “I got your back bro we gon get on em.”
Marshall said he’s received a lot of support since posting the letter online.
“I’ve heard good things like, ‘Just because I didn’t agree with what you did, I still care about you as a human being. I still wouldn’t wish any harm or malice towards you.’ I have a lot good support. I appreciate it.”
Fellow linebacker Corey Nelson said the team is standing by Marshall.
“It’s just sad that he has to go through that,” Nelson said.
Other racist threats
The letter Marshall received isn’t the only recent example of racist attacks on NFL players.
Tuesday evening, Giants fullback Nikita Whitlock came back to his Moonachie, New Jersey, apartment to find it vandalized with racist graffiti. According to CBS New York, the first thing Whitlock saw when he walked inside was a swastika on the wall.
He later discovered the letters “KKK” and “Go back to Africa” were also scrawled on the wall.
In September, Marshall’s protest was met with a mixture of praise and scorn.
While his actions lost him endorsement deals with the Air Academy Federal Credit Union and CenturyLink, he also received a new deal from Russell Simmons’ company RushCard.
In an Instagram post from that month, Marshall said that he planned to donate $300 for every tackle he makes during the season to local Denver organizations.
The Broncos said Marshall will not play in Sunday’s game against the Titans because of a hamstring injury.