CenturyLink drops Brandon Marshall amid national anthem controversy

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Just 43 days after the ink dried on a deal to sponsor Brandon Marshall, CenturyLink terminated its agreement with the Broncos linebacker Monday.

Marshall was contracted to appear in local TV and radio commercials, as well as in online, print and social media promotions.

After the decision by San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick to kneel when the national anthem is played before football games, Marshall joined in, agreeing to protest what Kaepernick deems are wrongdoings against African Americans and minorities in the U.S.

On Thursday before the Broncos' regular-season opener against the Carolina Panthers, Marshall took a knee during that anthem that was captured on national TV.

The next day, Air Academy Federal Credit Union said it was ending its relationship with Marshall. Now CenturyLink has followed suit.

Marshall has acknowledged the backlash has been harsh, with more negative messages than positive received, but he defends the decision.

"I’m not against the police. I’m not against the military. I’m not against America. I’m against social injustice," he said after practice Monday.

"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.”

“We completely respect Brandon Marshall's personal decision and right to take an action to support something in which he strongly believes," CenturyLink said in a statement. "America is anchored in the right of individuals to express their beliefs. While we acknowledge Brandon's right, we also believe that whatever issues we face, we also occasionally must stand together to show our allegiance to our common bond as a nation.

"In our view, the national anthem is one of those moments. For this reason, while we wish Brandon the best this season, we are politely terminating our agreement with him.”

Marshall has not commented on the termination.