The NFL might have effectively gentrified kneeling during the anthem, but that hasn’t made it any less of a hot-button issue. Two high school football players in Texas are paying the price for protesting during the national anthem ahead of their game on Friday, Sept. 29.
Cedric Ingram-Lewis and Larry McCullough were kicked off the team at Victory & Praise Christian Academy by their coach immediately following the anthem.
Lewis raised his fist during the protest, while McCullough knelt while the anthem was played. Their coach, Ronnie Mitchem, didn’t take too kindly to that. He told them to take off their uniform and leave, effectively kicking them off the team right before kickoff.
According to the Houston Chronicle, the coach told the players that “disrespect will not be tolerated.”
There is a sentiment that protests during the national anthem are protests of the anthem itself, and the freedoms American citizens enjoy. Obviously not the case, this disconnect has fueled the bulk of the anti-protest rhetoric.
Lewis’ mother, and McCullough’s aunt Rhonda Brady wasn’t happy with the way the coach handled the situation. She intends to talk to the coach about the situation, but doesn’t want him to put the two teens back on the team.
“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.”
It will be interesting to see who will protest during NFL games on Sunday. A number teams have already announced they will kneel, then stand.
Last week saw the most widespread protests across the league since Colin Kaepernick started the movement one year ago.
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