Broncos’ Brandon Marshall earns Harvard award for speaking out against social injustice and work in community

Marshall kneeled during the national anthem for seven games last season as a way to protest racial injustice in America.

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Screenshot from Twitter. Brandon Marshall kneeling during national anthem. Broncos

Brandon Marshall kneeled during national anthem in the Broncos' season opener.

The Harvard Graduate School of Education is honoring Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall with its 2017 Courage Award for raising awareness of social injustice issues and his work in the community.

Marshall kneeled during the national anthem for seven games last season as a way to protest racial injustice in America. He met with Denver Police Chief Robert White in September to discuss police’s treatment of people of color. Shortly after the meeting, Marshall outlined a plan to bring about positive change.

Marshall pledged to give $300 for every tackle he made to several local charities and organizations. He finished with 52 tackles this year, which comes out to $15,600. In December, Marshall also had a clothing drive to support victims of domestic violence.

“The 2017 Alumni of Color Conference (AOCC) Courage Award is given to an individual demonstrating outstanding commitment to the principles of justice, equity, and including,” a Harvard press release said. “Selected by the AOCC chairs, this inaugural award reflects the principles of the conference, including depth of character, extraordinary leadership, and engaged activism.”

Marshall lost endorsements and received racist hate mail during the weeks he kneeled during the national anthem. He started standing again in November after the Denver Police Department announced it would review its use-of-force policy.

“Going forward, I will be standing for the National Anthem — not because everything is perfect, or because I’m changing my stance on things. But because of my hope for what we can become,” Marshall wrote on Instagram.

For the 1st half of the season, I’ve been taking a knee for the National Anthem to raise awareness for social injustice and to start conversation about what all of us can do to make a positive change. I’m encouraged with the many productive discussions and progress that has taken place as the Denver Police department has decided to review its use of force policy. I’m proud to have joined so many of my peers throughout sports who’ve also made their own statements. Going forward, I will be standing for the National Anthem—not because everything is perfect, or because I'm changing my stance on things. But because of my hope for what we can become. Just because I am standing doesn't mean the work will end. There’s much work to be done. I’ll continue to recognize and support organizations that are stepping up as leaders and making a real difference in our community, and I will do my part to be there for those in need. One of those organizations is the Idriss Stelley Foundation, a grassroots organization in the Bay Area that offer free support to victims of police violence. I’ll be standing for them and the family of the late O’Shaine Evans—on Sunday night in addition to making a donation from my Tackle Change program to further the meaningful work of this group. I really appreciate the support from my family, teammates, coaches and fans. I’m grateful for those who have taken the time to hear me out. I’m excited for what all of us can accomplish when we truly work together.

A post shared by Brandon Marshall (@bmarshh) on

Marshall will receive the award March 3-4 at the Alumni of Color’s 2017 Conference.

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