Two Houston, Texas high school football players were kicked off their team after they protested the national anthem on Friday, The Houston Chronicle reported.
While the anthem played, Cedric Ingram-Lewis reportedly raised his fist while his cousin, Larry McCollough, knelt. The two played for Victory & Praise Christian Academy, the Chronicle reported.
Right after the anthem ended, head coach Ronnie Mitchem, a former Marine, asked for their uniforms and kicked them off the team. Mitchem told the Chronicle he warned the players not to kneel during the anthem because he felt it disrespects veterans.
“That was my point of view,” Mitchem said. “Like I said, I’m a former Marine. That just doesn’t fly and they knew that. I don’t have any problem with those young men. We’ve had a good relationship. They chose to do that and they had to pay for the consequences.”
He said he supported the two players’ protests, but wanted them to go about it differently. He even suggested kneeling after a touchdown or passing out a paper about the issues they were protesting — but kneeling during the anthem was off limits.
Rhonda Brady, Lewis’ mother, said she supported the players’ protests and called Mitchem’s decision too extreme.
“I’m definitely going to have a conversation because I don’t like the way that that was handled,” Brady told the Chronicle. “But I don’t want them back on the team. A man with integrity and morals and ethics and who…