Many NFL players believe race played a factor in the DeflateGate punishment and the recent court ruling, which vacated Tom Brady's suspension, Brandon Marshall said.
While discussing the DeflateGate drama on Showtime's "Inside the NFL" show, which aired Tuesday night, the outspoken Jets receiver said he sees three different types of players' reactions to commissioner Roger Goodell's initial four-game suspension of Brady and last week's decision by U.S. District Court Judge Richard Berman to lift the suspension.
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"As a player, I think that there are three different types of players viewing this thing," Marshall said. "No. 1 is the fighter. I think there are guys that are in the fight with Tom [Brady]. When one player's rights are upheld, all players' rights are upheld. It's not about what he did if he's right or wrong, it's more about the process. Is it fair?
"The second [type of player's view] is the coward. I call them cowards. That's the guys who are afraid to face Tom Brady. They want him suspended. I don't believe in that.
"And the last is the race card. There are a lot of players out there that believe that white players, specifically at the quarterback position, are treated differently."
Asked by in-studio analyst and former Jets quarterback Boomer Esaison if NFL players believe the suspension would have been upheld if it involved Panthers quarterback Cam Newton -- who is black -- Marshall said: "Well when you look back at the history of the sport, you can build a case on that, yes."
Marshall, the playmaking pass-catcher who was traded to the Jets in March, stressed that he's had conversations like this with white players, as well.
"This is not just from our locker room," Marshall said. "This is from locker rooms across the states. This is how guys are feeling, this is not just my opinion. These are conversations I'm having with guys. It's just not African-American players. I've had this conversation with Caucasian players, as well."
Asked if some believe there are different standards for white and black NFL players, Marshall replied, "Absolutely," before adding: "At times."
He also said there's a perception that there are a different set of standards for discipline depending on the race of the player. "At times, yes," Marshall said.