A pair of Houston-area high school football players were kicked off their team on Friday after kneeling during the national anthem, the Houston Chronicle reported.
Cedric Ingram-Lewis and Larry McCullough from Victory and Praise Christian Academy were immediately removed from the team by head coach Ronnie Mitchem. Mitchem, in his sixth season at Victory and Praise Christian Academy, told the Chronicle that he is a former Marine.
“That just doesn't fly and they knew that," Mitchem told the Chronicle. “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."
Ingram-Lewis and McCullough, who are black, joined protests NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started against racial inequality and police brutality. The protests grew among NFL players last week in response to a series of tweets sent by President Donald Trump.
Lewis' mother Rhonda Brady disagreed on how Friday's events were handled by Mitchem.
"I'm definitely going to have a conversation because I don't like the way that that was handled," Brady told the Chronicle. "But 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," Brady added. "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."
Mitchem, who is white, thought he had an agreement how his team would express their grievances about racial inequality. He told the Chronicle that he thought the players would take a knee after a touchdown, or hand out papers expressing their concerns.