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Morning Headlines: Browns Owners Defend Players' Freedom of Speech; Craigslist Killer Gets Appeal

photo of Josh Gordon
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Here are your morning headlines for Monday, September 25th:

  • Team owners defend athletes' right to free speech amid NFL protests;
  • Without warning, Akron charter school for disabled students shuts down;
  • Second Democratic debate takes shape in Ohio governor's race;
  • Ohio's highest court will hear Craigslist killer appeal;
  • Leader of support group for victims of priest abuse dies;
  • Ohio University gets pushback for "freedom of expression" policy;
  • Dwayne Wade considers signing with the Cavs;

Team owners defend athletes' right to free speech amid NFL protests
At least 20 Browns players knelt during the playing of the national anthem before yesterday’s game with the Indianapolis Colts, and owners Jim and Dee Haslam released a statement before the game saying they strongly supported “the liberties of peaceful, personal expression afforded to our players and all Americans.”  Players on virtually every NFL team were protesting President Donald Trump’s speech and tweets attacking NFL players who have knelt to protest police violence and pray for the country. Browns linebacker James Burgess tweeted before Sunday's game that he was a supporter of Donald Trump, but was let down by the president’s words. Meanwhile, LeBron James’ tweet challenging Trump's attack on the players and his dis-invite of the national champion Golden State Warriors to the White House was retweeted 620,000 times. The Tweet told Trump: "Going to White House was a great honor until you showed up!"

Without warning, Akron charter school for disabled students shuts down
An Akron charter school for students with disabilities closed without warning last week. Out of the Box Academy announced the shutdown by Facebook Saturday night. It said the closure was forced by changes to the state’s Autism Scholarship payment procedures, and the school couldn’t meet payroll. The scholarship program gives children with autism a choice in special education programs they attend. According to Ohio.com, the school enrolled about 55 students last year, ages 5 to 21.

Second Democratic debate takes shape in Ohio governor's race
Ohio’s Democrats are announcing details of a second gubernatorial debate today, though some of the highest profile names have not yet announced if they’re running. That includes Richard Cordray, the former Ohio attorney general and now head of the Consumer Financial Protection Bureau, TV talk show host Jerry Springer and former Congressman Dennis Kucinich. The declared candidates are Dayton Mayor Nan Whaley, former Congresswoman Betty Sutton, former state lawmaker Connie Pillich and state Sen. Joe Schiavoni.

Ohio's highest court will hear Craigslist killer appeal
The Ohio Supreme Court will hear the appeal tomorrow of convicted Craigslist killer Richard Beasley. One issue will be the national publicity that surrounded the Summit County case. The 58-year-old Beasley was convicted – along with teenager Brogan Rafferty -- of luring four men with bogus job offers to a property in Noble County. They killed three of the men; a fourth escaped after a gun malfunctions. Beasley has been sentenced to death. His appeal also includes claims that prosecutors should not have been able to use a biblical phrase in opening statements nor his criminal record during the trial.

Leader of support group for victims of priest abuse dies
Barbara Blaine, the founder and former president of the Survivors Network of those Abused by Priests, has died. The organization known as SNAP announced on its Facebook page that Blaine died Sunday following a recent cardiac event. Blaine founded SNAP in 1988, years after she was abused as an 8th grader by an Ohio priest who taught at the school she attended. She resigned from the organization in February.

Ohio University gets pushback for "freedom of expression" policy
Some students and faculty say Ohio University’s new “freedom of expression” policy is too broad. The policy bans protests and rallies in university buildings. It stemmed from a campus sit-in earlier this year opposing President Donald Trump’s travel ban. The administration says the policy fosters an exchange of ideas while keeping the campus safe.

Dwyane Wade considers signing with the Cavs
Dwyane Wade is strongly considering reuniting with LeBron James and signing with the Cavaliers. Wade reached a buyout from his $23.8 million contract with the Chicago Bulls over the weekend. According to Cleveland.com, a source close to James expects Wade to choose Cleveland, and ESPN is reporting the Cavs are the "clear" favorite to get him.