Brandon Marshall reacts strongly to President Trump's anthem comments

ENGLEWOOD, Colo. -- Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall, who knelt during the national anthem before eight games in 2016 and in Week 3 last season, had a strong response Thursday to President Donald Trump's support of the NFL's new anthem policy.

In an interview with Fox News, the president supported the NFL's policy that requires players to stand for the national anthem or remain in the locker room.

"I think that's good," Trump said. "I don't think people should be staying in locker rooms, but still I think it's good. You have to stand proudly for the national anthem or you shouldn't be playing, you shouldn't be there. Maybe you shouldn't be in the country.''

Marshall called the president's comments "disgusting.''

"I say 'disgusting' because of our First Amendment rights,'' Marshall said. "We have freedom of speech, right? Freedom to protest? Because somebody decides to protest something, now [we] have to be kicked out of the country? That's not how things should work, in my opinion. ... Just because somebody disagrees with something, or if I didn't stand for the anthem, or if I don't like what's going on, that's basically him saying I should be kicked out the country.

"We're supposed to have a conversation about things, talk about things, work things through. Everybody is not gonna agree on things. Everybody is not gonna have the same opinion on things. So just because somebody disagrees or has an issue with something that's going on in this country, it doesn't mean that they should pack up and leave. That's absurd, in my opinion.''

Seattle Seahawks wide receiver Doug Baldwin also had a strong reaction to Trump's comments.

"He's an idiot. Plain and simple," Baldwin said. "I respect the man because he's a human being, first and foremost. But he's just being more divisive, which is not surprising. It is what it is. For him to say that anyone who doesn't follow his viewpoints or his constituents' viewpoints should be kicked out of the country, it's not very empathetic, it's not very American-like, actually, to me. It's not very patriotic. It's not what this country was founded upon.

"It's kind of ironic to me that the president of the United States is contradicting what our country is really built on."

Marshall, who was Colin Kaepernick's teammate at Nevada and is in regular contact with him, was one of the first players to take a knee after Kaepernick did so in 2016. Marshall later met with officials from the Denver Police Department about the use-of-force policy and said he has continued to try "to work in my community to make things better for everyone involved.''

He said he believes the NFL's new anthem policy, approved at the league meetings Wednesday, is not a real solution.

"I don't like it, but that's my opinion. I don't like it. I understand it, though. I don't like it, but I understand it and what they're trying to protect -- they're trying to protect the shield," he said, referring to the NFL's emblem.

"The reason we did this in the first place was to bring attention to police brutality," Marshall continued. "That's the reason why we took a knee, and that was just a symbol of what was going on, just like the flag is a symbol of America. So taking a knee was a symbol, and the work came after that. Colin has been doing work, I've been doing work, Malcolm Jenkins, a bunch of guys have been doing work. So to me, the knee wasn't the end all, be all. There should have been action behind the knee, and there was.''

In Pittsburgh, Steelers cornerback Artie Burns said the new policy's singling out of protesting players makes him frustrated.

"That's just another topic to get everybody against each other. I hate that we have to go down this route, but it is what it is," Burns said. "It makes [the protesters] look bad. Your whole team is out there, and you come running out like, 'Oh, he's the guy.' Who wants to go through that? That's humiliating us as a person, because we're trying to stand for something, to single us out in front of everybody."

Burns added that the policy won't be an issue for the Steelers and that he will be standing during the anthem. But those who want to protest have two difficult choices, Burns said: Stay in the locker room or potentially face discipline or team fines.

"You talk about bullying; that's bullying, man," Burns said.

The NFL's policy states that players and league personnel on the field before a game will "stand and show respect for the flag and the Anthem'' and the team will be fined if individuals on the sideline "do not show proper respect for the flag and Anthem.''

"I feel like it might make people want to just rebel,'' Marshall said. " ... And let's be clear: I know they say they might fine the team, but players don't care about that. Players don't care about the team gets fined.''

Marshall added that the Broncos, including former coach Gary Kubiak, president and CEO Joe Ellis, and linebackers coach Reggie Herring, "have had my back. ... This organization has been good to me.''

ESPN's Jeremy Fowler contributed to this report.