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New York Jets receiver Brandon Marshall clarifies race card comments

Brandon Marshall spoke for the first time Thursday after making his headline 'race card' comments

FLORHAM PARK: Brandon Marshall is a man of many roles. 

For starters, he's a family man; the husband to Michi Nogami, and new father to two twins born in January.

Next, he's the No. 1 wideout on the Jets depth chart, tasked with abusing cornerbacks and bringing a dimension to New York's offense that it hasn't had in years. 

He's also an analyst, part of a four-man crew on NFL Network's 'Inside the NFL.'  His job? Give fans and viewers a player's perspective on touchy subjects. 

Marshall plans on being the best he can at them all, and holding back on none. 

On the season premier of Inside the NFL, Marshall made headlines when he weighed in on the Tom Brady vs NFL situation. With Brady's four-game ban from Commissioner Roger Goodell uplifted during a legal battle, Marshall indicated that many players in the NFL believe 'race' played a part in it. 

"I think there are three different types of players' views in this thing," Marshall said. "No. 1 is the fighter. I think there are guys in the fight with Tom. When one player's rights are upheld, then 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 is the cowards. I call them cowards. That's the guys that are afraid to face Tom Brady. They want him suspended. I don't believe that."

And the third?  "The race card," Marshall said. "There are a lot of players out there that believe that white players--specifically, at the quarterback position-- are treated differently."

 

Speaking on Thursday for the first time since making his remarks, Marshall had a chance to clarify what he meant. While he didn't talk much about his words, answering just one question, he did state that it's tough to get a point across on a touchy subject in the limited time frame of a television show. With just five or six minutes to talk, Marshall said it's a challenge to articulate in detail exactly what you mean, and made sure to let all know he wasn't talking about the judge who ruled in the Brady decision, or even Brady's case in particular. 

His statements were about how players feel. 

"Whenever you talk about race," Marshall said, "Whenever you talk about religion and politics, it's uncomfortable and it can be tough at times. It's one of those things where sometimes you gotta deal with it and move forward. The thing that I try to remember is that my seat on that show is to give the player's perspective.

"I'm not a 10-year vet where I can sit up there and try to analyze things, or be as witty as (fellow hosts) Boomer (Esiason) and Phil (Simms). So, for me, I try to sit in that seat as a player.

"I think that it's very intriguing for the average fan to get an inside look into what the players are thinking. Get an inside look at what's going on in the locker room. The other thing I'm up there thinking about is will this effect my team." 

The later of which has already been something Marshall has had a discussion about with Jets head coach Todd Bowles. 

RELATED: WATCH Brandon Marshall make one-handed catch in practice

One day after Marshall's comments aired, he and Bowles sat down to talk. Marshall told Bowles exactly what he said, Bowles listened and then read his comments for himself. After that, Bowles offered some words of wisdom for the five-time Pro Bowler:

Be Smart

"You can say things and they come out a different way than what you mean," Bowles said. "He can express his opinion outside. I have no problem with that. But I'd just like him to be smarter going forward. That's all."

Marshall said as an active player, it's difficult being on camera and breaking down the game of football. He can't talk about his team, it's hard to talk about other teams, so he tries to simply say on the show what others tell him. In a way, he's a pipeline to transfer players' thoughts and opinions to fans. 

When he retires? Well, things will change just slightly then. 

"Woah. A lot of headlines," Marshall said with a smile. 

Connor Hughes is the New York Jets beat writer for The Journal Inquirer and Scout.com. He can be reached on Twitter (@Connor_J_Hughes), or via email (connor_j_hughes@yahoo.com)


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