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You can root for both Johnny Manziel AND Colin Kaepernick to get NFL jobs.

By Jimmy Traina
March 23, 2018

1. I know in this day and age of social media combined with everyone's "it's my side vs. your side" mentality, people think they can only feel one way about a topic.

After Johnny Manziel threw for 12 NFL scouts on Thursday, the drumbeat immediately began: "Johnny Manziel is gonna be back in the NFL before Colin Kaepernick."

Why can't you want BOTH men to be in the NFL? It's not Johnny Manziel's fault that NFL owners are at the least ignorant and scared and at the worst racist when it comes to Kaepernick. But the narrative that has emerged instead has been a battle between Manziel and Kaepernick.

Colin Kaepernick absolutely, 100% DESERVES to be in the NFL. The league is filled with hot garbage quarterbacks and he is clearly better than many of them. And don't bother with the "teams don't want a distraction" nonsense. During his final season with the 49ers, when he was kneeling during the anthem, his own teammates gave him an annual award as the player “who best exemplifies the ‘inspirational and courageous play." And his head coach that season, Chip Kelly, came out many times to say Kaepernick was not a distraction. The "distraction" angle is a crutch used by people offended that Kaepernick staged his own silent protest, it's not a real thing in the real world of football. If a team signed Kaepernick, the media would have a field day with it for a few days and then it would die down. 

That's one of the things that has gotten lost in the Kaepernick controversy. His kneeling was a non-issue for most of his final season. It was a hot story when it was first revealed, and then it died down. It was reignited when 1) he was clearly being blackballed by NFL teams and 2) The Twitter-addicted President started tweeting about it. 

But now that Manziel has thrown for teams, people are furious about Kaepernick getting snubbed—and rightfully so. However, the blame shouldn't be put on Manziel, it should be put on NFL owners, GMs and coaches.

Fans should be rooting for Manziel to turn his life around. He's a 25-year-old guy who seems now to be truly trying to get better. He had a domestic violence charge (it was subsequently dismissed after he completed an anger management course); he was unprofessional while he was with the Browns and was ultimately nothing but a complete sideshow for a long time. But now, he's opened up about his mental illness and his serious issues with addiction. He has talked about his dedication to staying sober and getting help. As far as we know, he's cleaned up his act. Why wouldn't you want a young guy like that to have a chance at a redemption story?

Do I think Manziel deserves to be in the NFL based on his play, as is the case with Kaepernick? No. But Manziel was one of the greatest college QBs ever, who didn't give himself a proper chance to succeed in the NFL because of his behavior and his own actions and decisions. Now he's trying to fix that, but he's getting dragged for it so that people can express their outrage over the unfair situation with Kaepernick. Manziel deserves the anger aimed at him for his past actions. But he shouldn't get hate thrown his way because of his attempt at trying to get it right. It's okay to think Kapernick deserves to be in the NFL while also wanting Manziel to change for the better and get a second chance at getting his life back on track. 

It would be nice if people rallied behind Kaepernick without taking down Manziel. The anger needs to be steered toward NFL decision makers, not Johnny Football.

2. I'm extremely excited to be taking over hosting duties of the SI Media Podcast. I will no longer host the Off The Board podcast, so if you were a subscriber to that one, I really need you to subscribe to the new one. Obviously, media will be a big theme since it's called the SI MEDIA Podcast, but I will still interview athletes, celebrities and other interesting people along the way. The podcast will post each Thursday and once again, you should subscribe. The first episode features an interview with ESPN historian and author James Andrew Miller, who had that shocking interview with former ESPN President, John Skipper, last week, in which Skipper revealed he left the network because of a cocaine extortion plot. We cover all of that,m as well as the fraying ESPN-NFL relationship, Monday Night Football and much more. You can listen and subscribe below or on iTunes

3. A lot of people were vocal about their unhappiness with Jemele Hill and Michael Smith as SportsCenter anchors, but their recent departures did not help the ratings at all.

4. After seeing this clip of Twins first baseman Logan Morrison recording a putout while being interviewed, I'm now in favor of in-game player interviews.

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@lomogram is quite the multitasker. 😂

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5. The Yankees have put out an American Idol spoof video, but the real story here is that C.C. Sabathia does an amazing Randy Jackson impersonation.

6. I'll never look at Steph Curry the same way after seeing this on John Cena's Instagram page.

7. RANDOM WRESTLING VIDEO OF THE DAY: It's Friday. We need a vintage Rock promo.

Traina Thoughts is the best of the Internet, plus musings by SI.com writer, Jimmy Traina. Get the link to a new Traina Thoughts each day by following on Twitter and liking on Facebook. Catch up on previous editions of Traina Thoughts right here. And check out Jimmy Traina's weekly podcast.

IN CLOSING: Have I mentioned that you really should subscribe to the SI Media Podcast?

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