A pair of football players at Victory and Praise Christian Academy in Crosby, Texas, were reportedly kicked off the team for protesting during the national anthem Friday.
According to the Houston Chronicle‘s Adam Coleman, Cedric Ingram-Lewis raised his fist and his cousin, Larry McCullough, kneeled.
Ingram-Lewis said they had been warned before the game by their head coach Ronnie Mitchem, who reportedly served in the military, that they would be disciplined if they demonstrated.
“He told us that disrespect will not be tolerated,” Ingram-Lewis said of the coach’s reaction to the protest, per Coleman. “He told us to take off our uniform and leave it there.”
“That was my point of view,” Mitchem said, per Coleman. “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.”
The dismissals came less than a week after teams across the NFL engaged in displays of unity following divisive comments by President Donald Trump, who said he would like to see owners fire the “son of a bitch” who kneels during the anthem.
On Thursday, The Intercept‘s Shaun King relayed a memo from Parkway High School in Bossier City, Louisiana, that stated student athletes would be required to stand for the national anthem in light of the NFL demonstrations.
“Parkway High School requires student-athletes to stand in a respectful manner throughout the national anthem during any sporting event in which their team is participating,” principal Waylon Bates wrote. “Failure to comply will result in loss of playing time and/or participation as directed by the head coach and principal. Continued failure to comply will result in removal from the team.”