By Nate Ulrich

Beacon Journal sports writer

BEREA: Two prominent Browns players weighed in Tuesday on San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernicks controversial decision to sit during the national anthem.

Kaepernick has sat through the anthem for the 49ers three preseason games in protest of what he deems police brutality against people of color.

I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color, Kaepernick told NFL Network last weekend. To me, this is bigger than football and it would be selfish on my part to look the other way. There are bodies in the street and people getting paid leave and getting away with murder.

Browns quarterback Robert Griffin III repeatedly said its not his place to judge Kaepernick.

You definitely have to bring a spotlight to issues that you feel are pertinent to society, Griffin said. Colin Kaepernicks stance on the American flag, I cant judge him for that. My stance is that for me, Im a military brat. My parents both served. My dad did 21 [years]. My mom did 13. So that represents something totally different for me.

Browns wide receiver Josh Gordon said he supports Kaepernick and called him a good friend.

I got a great respect for him, Gordon said. Thats great that he did that. For him, he needed to voice his opinion and felt as though he needed to have his voice heard. I think he did it the best way he could, on his stage. I can do nothing but respect that. Ive got no opinion on that because thats his opinion. Thats his right to do so as an American citizen.

Griffin and Gordon were asked if they would sit during the anthem.

Its not my place to judge what he wants to do or what he doesnt want to do, Griffin said. So Im focused on playing football, and if theres any social issues that I feel like I need to address, then Ill address them in my own way. But Im not going to judge another man for addressing it how he wants to address it.

Added Gordon: It never really crossed my mind till I seen him do it, and once one person does it, it doesnt need to be done again. I feel as though the points gotten across. To support him or to view it as negatively, thats up to individual people. Hes a friend of mine. Im going to support him through thick or thin.

Browns legend and noted activist Jim Brown discussed the issue Monday night on NFL Network.

I listened to [Kaepernick], and he makes all of the sense in the world, said Brown, a hall of fame running back special adviser to the Browns. Hes within his rights and hes telling the truth as he sees it. I am with him 100 percent.

Now, if you ask me would I do that? No, I wont because I see it a little differently. Im an American citizen. I pay my taxes. I want my equal rights. But this is my country and consequently I dont want to open up for ISIS or for anybody that will take away what weve already gained.

Goals for finale

Griffin and the rest of the starters will play in Thursday nights preseason finale against the visiting Chicago Bears, but coach Hue Jackson said he hasnt decided how long theyll play. Some coaches rest their starters altogether in the fourth and final exhibition game.

Every time you get an opportunity to go out there and play the game, its an opportunity to improve, Griffin said. So Coach decided he wants to play the starters. Were ready to go.

Griffin and the starting offense are aiming to reach a couple of goals.

They dont want to rely solely on the long ball.

What it has been is long-ball heaven here, Jackson said. We do need to move the ball around a little bit. I think everybody knows we can throw it down the field, but there are a lot of other things we can do, too.

Five deep passes have accounted for 215 of Griffins 282 passing yards this preseason.

Weve got guys that can make big plays, but those same guys can make the underneath plays that can keep drives going, and it starts with me, Griffin said. I have to be more consistent.

Griffin wants to avoid sacks, too. He took five in Fridays 30-13 loss to the Tampa Bay Buccaneers.

Just get the ball out of my hands, Griffin said. My big boys up front are straining and doing everything they can to protect me, so Ive just got to make sure I get the ball out.

Punting competition

The Browns signed Michael Palardy on Tuesday to compete with fellow punter Kasey Redfern. Neither has played in an NFL regular-season game.

On Monday, the Browns traded three-time Pro Bowl punter Andy Lee and a 2017 seventh-round draft pick to the Carolina Panthers for Redfern and a 2018 fourth-round choice.

Jackson said the move had nothing to do with Lee lollygagging instead of trying to stop Adam Humphries from returning a punt 73 yards for a touchdown Friday. Jackson chewed out Lee on the sideline during the game and admitted afterward he was not happy with Lees pursuit.

I can guarantee everybody that wasnt it, Jackson said. Obviously, I was disappointed in what happened at that time, and I told him so. But that had nothing to do with the decision.

Obviously, we see an opportunity to better our situation here for the future. I totally support our team as far as making those decisions. It is probably unheard of to get a fourth-round pick in that situation for a good player. He will go back to Carolina, and Im sure he will help that football team, but there are also some punters out there that we liked.

The Browns waived free safety Tim Scott to make room for Palardy, who punted three times with an average of 45.7 yards in the Indianapolis Colts preseason opener.

Extra points

The Chicago Bears claimed former Browns nickel cornerback KWaun Williams off waivers.

The following Browns players didnt practice Tuesday: cornerbacks Tracy Howard (hamstring), Tramon Williams (toe) and Justin Gilbert (concussion), wide receiver Marlon Moore (hip), running back Raheem Mostert (hamstring) and left tackle Joe Thomas (rest).

Nate Ulrich can be reached at Read the Browns blog at Follow him on Twitter at and on Facebook