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Brandon Marshall: I didn't mean Tom Brady ruling had racial bias

New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall practices

New York Jets wide receiver Brandon Marshall practices during training camp at the team's training facility in Florham Park, N.J. on Tuesday, Aug. 11, 2015. Credit: Andrew Theodorakis

FLORHAM PARK, N.J. - Given a platform to express his views further, Brandon Marshall instead tried to shift the focus away from his latest controversy.

Although he stood by his comments on the role that race plays in the NFL -- and the recent U.S. District Court ruling that vacated a four-game suspension of Patriots quarterback Tom Brady -- the Jets receiver made one critical clarification.

"It's tough sometimes when you only have five- or six-minute segments where you can't articulate as well as you would like or go into a lot of depth,'' Marshall said Thursday. "It had nothing to do with the judge . It was just what I thought was the opinion of a bunch of players and it had nothing to do with the case.

" . . . The only thing I will say about that whole deal is, I think we all know -- especially you guys [the media] know more than anyone else -- whenever you talk about race, whenever you talk about religion and politics, it's uncomfortable and it can be tough at times. It's just one of those things where, sometimes, you've got to deal with it and move forward.''

During Tuesday night's episode of Showtime's "Inside the NFL,'' Marshall was asked to give player reaction to the DeflateGate drama and commissioner Roger Goodell's failed attempt to suspend Brady.

Marshall said "a lot of players'' believe that white players, "specifically at the quarterback position,'' are treated differently. When asked if 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.''

On Thursday, Marshall was pressed to explain his stance in more detail. "That's it. I'm ready to move on to football,'' he said. But the questions kept coming.

"I said what I said. The only thing I wanted to clarify . . . is some people thought it was about the decision. It was about, just in general.''

Todd Bowles said Wednesday that Marshall's opinion "is well warranted'' but stressed that he must choose his words carefully, given his platform.

"The thing that I try to remember is, my seat on that show is to give the player's perspective,'' Marshall said. " . . . And I think it's really intriguing for the average fan to get an inside look at what players are thinking . . . and of what's going on in the locker room. And the other thing I'm also thinking out there is, will this affect my team?''

On Wednesday, however, teammates were forced to answer for Marshall because of his absence in the locker room.

"If you're going to talk about a topic, be educated about it,'' Willie Colon told Newsday. "And also, be ready to take the feedback and the backlash. You can't put something out there and then be like, 'Well, I didn't mean this.' ''

Marshall, a 10-year veteran, is no stranger to controversy or TV appearances, but he admitted there are challenges to being an on-air personality while still an active player.

"It's tough talking about religion and race and politics on television,'' he said. "It's one of those things people tell you don't talk about. And I think that's how a lot of people feel. But I'm OK with being uncomfortable. I actually do better in uncomfortable situations; that's just where I come from. I've always [thrived] in those situations.

"Maybe in six, seven years [when he retires], whoo! There's going to be a lot of headlines.''

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