A high school football coach in Crosby, Texas recently cut two teenage players from their team after they protested during the national anthem, according to Clink 2 Houston.
Click 2 on Saturday reported that Ronnie Mitchem opted to boot Larry McCullough, 18, and Cedric Ingram Lewis, 16, from the Victory and Worship Academy’s roster last Friday.
Mitchem, the private high school’s head football coach, made both players remove their uniforms on the field before kicking them off the squad.
The former Marine’s decision followed McCullough raising his fist during the anthem and Lewis kneeling for it.
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“Before every game, we always pray and then say the anthem,” McCullough said of himself and Lewis, his cousin. “At the game, I decided to stay on my knee, rather than say the anthem.”
“I wasn’t trying to disrespect the flag,” he added. “It was really showing the injustice for black people, all the stuff that’s going on in the [National Football League], stuff like that, so I feel I need to be a part of it, too.”
Some Twitter users on Monday praised Mitchem’s move, while others criticized his judgment instead.
— tweetpotatoe (@tweetpotatoe) October 2, 2017
— fuseboxradio (@fuseboxradio) October 2, 2017
Mitchem said in a Facebook post after the incident that he does not oppose protesting so long as it occurs outside of the anthem getting played.
“I want to be clear that I don’t have a problem with people protesting if it is done in the right way,” he wrote. “But to disrespect the flag that gives us the right to protest is the wrong way to do it.”
“Black, white, Asian, Hispanic, all have come to this great nation and many have died so I could Pastor/coach and play football on Friday night. Though many disagree with me, this is what I believe and as an American I have that right.”
Scores of NFL coaches, executives and players have knelt during the anthem since President Trump denounced the practice last month.
Trump called on the professional football league to fire employees who perform the move, and he has since described it as “disgraceful.”