Brandon Marshall was one of several NFL players last year to take a knee during the National Anthem in protest of police brutality and racial inequality. While Marshall’s protest has ended, and his efforts to better connect with law enforcement in the Denver community continue, the protests are ongoing on many NFL rosters. Marshall’s college teammate, Colin Kaepernick, whose protest last year sparked many others, remains out of football in what some news outlets have described as a blackball effort by teams.

General Manager John Elway addressed the issue of National Anthem protests directly on Thursday in Santa Clara, Calif., where Broncos were holding joint practices with the 49ers and the site Kaepernick’s protest was first publicized last year.

Elway spoke with the media on the team’s attitude regarding Anthem protests, his personal feelings on the matter, and how Marshall has made a difference in the community. Here’s what Elway had to say. (Quotes courtesy of Broncos Media Relations.)

On players protesting the National Anthem

“We have not had a conversation with them and I think that my stance—I think everybody has the right to do what they wish to do and their beliefs are their beliefs. That’s why we live in this country and they have the right to display whatever they wish to display. I think one thing that where we stand and I can stand with the Broncos is that you know what, that’s OK, we’ll respect that and whatever you want to do is fine with us. But the bottom line is, that can’t get in the way of our main goal and that is to compete for World Championships. I just don’t want that pulling away from our team. Sometimes that can pull away because obviously it gets a lot of attention. Therefore, the only thing I would say to our players is make sure it’s not hurting your teammates, right? Because if the questions and everything the tenor changes of what’s going on in these interviews and now you’re not talking about our next opponent but talking about what’s going on out in the world. That’s not the best thing for our football team. My only advice – we tell our players, I respect where you stand, just when you’re doing anything just understand what it’s doing to the football team because I want all of these guys to understand that we’re football first and we want to win football games. If we do that, everything’s going to be fine. Again, with that being said, I still respect the fact that they have the right to do what they wish to do, but I just hope when they do those types of things and what they take in mind is that they think about their teammates first.”

On ILB Brandon Marshall making a difference in the community

“Yes, he really did. Brandon made a point last year, but he carried it forward. He just didn’t make a stand on the field before the games, he actually went out in the community and did something and talked to different people. He went and talked to law enforcement and got involved in the community. I was proud of Brandon in not only did he show his support for what it was last year, but also he went out and did something in the community.”