New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall speaks with a...

New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall speaks with a reporter during training camp at Atlantic Health Jets Training Center in Florham Park, N.J. on Tuesday, Aug. 9, 2016. Credit: Kathleen Malone-Van Dyke

A day after calling Colin Kaepernick “one of the biggest patriots out there,” Jets receiver Brandon Marshall defended the 49ers quarterback’s right to peacefully protest police brutality and the oppression of people of color, specifically African-Americans.

“We all have causes,” said Marshall, who in recent years has become a staunch mental health advocate. “My thing is ‘Project 375’ Mental Health Awareness. Boomer [Esiason], one of my colleagues on Showtime, his thing is Cystic Fibrosis. There’s other guys in this locker room that are passionate about things and they have foundations. Matt Forte, he’s really passionate about the high school dropout rate in Chicago. I think there’s things that trumps all of those causes.

“When it comes to human rights — when you believe in one thing, you believe in all.”

Marshall, who took his friend and Showtime colleague Esiason to task on Tuesday for lambasting Kaepernick publicly, described protests such as Kaepernick’s as part of a larger “civil rights movement.”

“I spent a lot of time last week listening to Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. [speeches],” he added. “One of the things he’s always done was he spoke his mind. He’s always spoke it out of truth and love. He did it in a way where he had friends on both sides. I think that’s the best way, where you sit at the table.”

“It’s interesting because that was the civil rights movement back then. This is another civil rights movement, like it or not. This is a civil rights movement, it’s a civil rights issue. Martin Luther King did an amazing job of making sure that everyone was at the table. What I mean by that is, he never once went against America. He always said America was an amazing nation. Whether he believed that or not, I don’t know. I say that because if you want to get things done, you have to do it in a way where everyone is at the table.

“For me, I think it’s an amazing time and I think that we’re going to see a lot of change. Nothing is new. These issues have been around forever. The only thing that’s changed is technology and we get the information faster. We’re able to capture it. I’m excited about the times we’re in because we’re talking about it. We’ll see what happens and how we’re going to affect change with these protests and some of the things that people are talking about.”

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