Cedric Ingram-Lewis and Larry McCullough from Victory & Praise Christian Academy in Crosby, Texas were kicked off their football team for protesting police brutality during the national anthem during a game this weekend.
Ingram-Lewis, a 16-year-old sophomore, raised his fist during national anthem while his cousin, McCullough, 18, kneeled before their game against Providence Classical.
They said their former coach, Ronnie Mitchem, immediately asked the teens to remove their uniforms after the anthem was finished.
“He [Mitchem] said ‘it was honor having you on this team, but I won’t tolerate the disrespect. He asked us to take off our whole uniform,” Ingram-Lewis told InsideEdition.com. “I was perfectly fine with it. I stood up for what I believed in, to get the message across about all of the police brutality and the oppression of black people in America.”
The teen said their coach, who is a former Marine, had made statements in practice about kneeling during the anthem and allegedly said if anyone was to do so, they would be removed from the team.
“I want to be clear that I don’t have a problem with people protesting if it is done the right way. But to disrespect the flag that gives us the right to protest is the wrong way to do it. There is a proper time to do something in a proper way,” Mitchem wrote in a statement on his Facebook page.
Mitchem has stopped watching NFL games due to the players’ protests of the national anthem, meant to raise awareness for what they see as systemic racism in America.