Two Texas high school students were kicked off of their team following their national anthem protests, the Houston Chronicle is reporting.
Cedric Ingram-Lewis and his cousin, Larry McCullough, both took the field Friday night for Victory & Praise Christian Academy’s game against Providence Classical. As the national anthem played, Cedric, rather than standing with his teammates, hand over his heart, instead raised his fist, while McCullough took a knee.
Head coach Ronnie Mitchem, who is a pastor and former marine, was having none of it. Once the final notes of the anthem were played, Mitchem told both young men that they were off the team. They were to go straight to the locker room, change out of their uniforms, and go home, says Lewis.
“He told us that disrespect will not be tolerated. He told us to take off our uniform and leave it there.”
Mitchem tells the Chronicle that he had spoken to his players before the season began, and he’d made clear his thoughts on protesting the national anthem.
“I’m a former Marine. That just doesn’t fly and they knew that.”
He also notes that he understood why young men on his team might want to protest, but he suggested they find other ways to do it besides during the national anthem. Because they disobeyed his direct instructions, he had to remove them from the team.
“They chose to do that and they had to pay for the consequences.”
— Chron HS Sports (@HoustonChronHS) September 30, 2017
Rhonda Brady, Lewis’ mother — and McCullough’s aunt — said she is glad the boys are off the team; not because they protested during the national anthem, but because she doesn’t want them playing for a coach like Mitchem.
“I don’t want them back on the team. A man with integrity and morals and ethics and who truly lives by that wouldn’t have done anything like that. Actions speak louder than words. So, for him to do what he did, that really spoke volumes and I don’t want my kids or my nephew to be around a man with no integrity.”
According to WSB-TV, some school districts in Texas, including those in Houston and Frisco, have said in public statements that student-athletes would be allowed to protest during the national anthem without any repurcussions.
Elsewhere in Texas, according to another Houston Chronicle report, high school cheerleaders took a knee during the national anthem at the game between McCallum and Lyndon B. Johnson high schools. No players on either team engaged in any national anthem protests.
[Featured Image by Herbert+Kratky/Thinkstock]