High school football players kicked off team after anthem protest

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(RNN) – Two high school football players in Texas were kicked off their team after they protested during the national anthem at a game Friday night, the Houston Chronicle reports.

Victory & Praise Christian Academy player Cedric Ingram-Lewis raised his fist and his cousin, Larry McCullough, knelt, as “The Star Spangled Banner” played before the game.

The students said after the anthem, head coach Ronnie Mitchem told them to take off their uniforms and then kicked them off the team.

“He told us that disrespect will not be tolerated,” Lewis told the Chronicle. “He told us to take off our uniform and leave it there.”

Mitchem, a former Marine and a pastor, started the church-based football program six years ago. The protesting players said that before the game, the coach addressed the topic in the locker room, telling players not to kneel and citing his service in the military.

Local high school football players kicked off team after protest during anthem (by @chroncoleman) https://t.co/mATIDFymj3 via @houstonchron

— Matt Young (@Chron_MattYoung) September 30, 2017

Lewis’s mother said she supported her son and nephew’s choice to protest but found the coach’s reaction out of line.

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