The NFL has made it clear that coaches and players will be fined for comments that criticize officials. Browns coach Freddie Kitchens will be keeping his mouth shut, for a very specific and basic reason.
“I like money so I am not going to complain about the officials,” Kitchens told reporters on Wednesday. “If [players] want to give their money to the league, they can do it. I do not know. I do not know how to answer that. It does not matter to me either way. I would like for them to keep their money, but I also like our guys to be passionate about what they are doing. They have a decision to make, I guess.”
Quarterback Baker Mayfield made the decision to speak after a Week Six loss to the Seahawks. He received a $12,500 fine.
“As long as those guys are not hurting the team, it does not matter,” Kitchens said regarding concerns that comments from players about officials or the league could put a target on the Browns. “My concern is the team, and I do not want them hurting their team with comments. . . . As far as comments about officials and stuff like that, I am going to stay away from that because I can’t control the officials. I am not in their meetings. I am not in their pregame deals and all that kind of stuff. I just want to control our team from the standpoint of putting them in the best positon to win.”
That hasn’t happened enough for the Browns under Kitchens’ leadership, with a record of 2-4. The biggest chalenge of the year comes on Sunday, when the Browns visit the 7-0 Patriots.