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When the national anthem controversy erupted in 2016 and became an even
bigger issue for the league in 2017 Brayden
Schenn Jersey
 , the NFL made one point very clear publicly: Players
have the right to kneel or otherwise demonstrate during the national anthem.
Privately (and at times publicly), some of the NFL’s teams have sent a very
different message.

This duality has resulted in a collusion grievance from free-agent
quarterback Colin Kaepernick, and a collusion grievance could (in theory) be the
path that free-agent safety Eric Reid eventually chooses to follow.

Setting aside personal opinions on whether it’s proper or improper to use the
anthem as a mechanism for protest, as a matter of labor and employment law, it’s
proper for players to choose to protest during the anthem. Which means that, as
a matter of labor and employment law, it’s not proper for the NFL or its teams
to hold protesting during the anthem against any player who chooses to

Which also means that there’s no legitimate reason whatsoever for any owner,
G.M., or coach to interrogate a potential employee/player on whether he will or
won’t kneel. Which means that, if it happens, it’s necessarily illegitimate — no
different than asking potential employees about religious beliefs, national
origin, and (for female employees, obviously) whether they are or plan to become

Again, collusion is just a fancy word for coordination. If the teams have
collectively decided, possibly with the league office as the conduit, that
players who are most closely identified with kneeling (like Kaepernick and Reid)
are bad for business despite the fact that kneeling can’t be prohibited, that’s
a problem.

With the Bengals ,
a team that has routinely provided sanctuary to players with off-field issues,
being the ones to pose clearly inappropriate questions to Reid in the apparent
hope that he’ll commit clearly and unequivocally to not kneeling before the
Bengals will offer him a contract, the problem becomes even more glaring.

With Kaepernick, the NFL’s teams had a chance to fix the problem before it
got out of hand. With Reid, the window is still open. Once it closes, however,
the NFL could end up with a second player claiming that the league and/or its
teams are working in coordination to keep out of football one of the players who
have been at the core of the issue of protests during the national

After one difficult season, the Browns threw DeShone Kizer away.

Cleveland traded its starting quarterback on Friday to the Green Bay Packers
in exchange for cornerback Damarious Randall, a person familiar with the deal
told The Associated Press. The teams will also swap late-round picks, said the
person who spoke on condition of anonymity because league rules prohibit teams
from announcing any trades until next week.

Kizer, who went 0-15 as a starter and led the NFL with 22 interceptions
during a straining rookie season, will compete for Green Bay’s backup job behind
star Aaron Rodgers.

Kizer’s trade capped a dizzying few hours on the final Friday of the league
year for the Browns, who also pulled off deals to acquire quarterback Tyrod
Taylor from Buffalo and star wide receiver Jarvis Landry from Miami.

Cleveland selected the rifle-armed Kizer in the second round last year, and
after a strange training camp in which he passed both Cody Kessler and Brock
Osweiler on the depth chart, the 22-year-old was named the Browns’ starter by
coach Hue Jackson.

Kizer showed flashes of potential and promise, but not enough and the Browns
decided it was time to move on.

The Toledo, Ohio, native completed 255 of 476 passes for 2 Ronnie
Harrison Color Rush Jersey
 ,894 yards and 11 touchdowns. He rushed
77 times for 419 yards and five TDs.

However, Kizer rarely looked comfortable in the pocket, partly because teams
were constantly blitzing him, and he was sacked 38 times.

In truth, Kizer’s days appeared numbered in Cleveland as the team was
expected to target a veteran in free agency – before getting Taylor, that is –
and the Browns will likely use the No. 1 overall pick in this year’s draft on a

Kizer was going to have to earn a spot with the Browns, and he’ll be in a
similar situation with the Packers, who were forced to start Brett Hundley nine
games last season after Rodgers broke his collarbone.

Jackson fully expected Kizer to struggle in his first year and those fears
played out week after week. Just as he did at Notre Dame, Kizer had accuracy
problems and after he threw nine picks in his first five games, Jackson benched
him in favor of Kevin Hogan.

Kizer was stung by the demotion, but he regained Jackson’s trust and won over
his teammates by showing toughness and grit while trying to stop the Browns from
joining the 2008 Detroit Lions as the only teams to go 0-16.

He failed, but while he and the Browns slid toward ignominy, Kizer never
complained, pointed fingers or made excuses. He vowed to improve and come back a
better player and person.

Kizer will get the chance, elsewhere.

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