Kneeling during the national anthem in protest of racial inequality and police brutality has become a sport-wide practice. The effects of expressing this form of free speech have officially reached the high school level.
The Houston Chronicle reports that Cedric Ingram-Lewis and Larry McCullough, cousins at Victory & Praise Christian Academy in Crosby, Texas, were instructed by their coach to take off their uniform and leave the team after the pair staged a protest during the national anthem on Friday. Ingram-Lewis raised his fist, while McCullough knelt for the protest.
Afterward, their coach, Ronnie Mitchem, told them they were off the team.
"He told us that disrespect will not be tolerated," Lewis told the paper.
Mitchem is a former Marine and pastor.
"That just doesn't fly, and they knew that," Mitchem, who would rather his players to protest in another fashion, 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."
Victory & Praise Christian Academy is a private, religious worship academy.
This isn't the first instance of a high school taking a strong stance on protests during the anthem. Parkway High School in Bossier, Louisiana, sent out a letter to players and parents that protests during the anthem would be met with less playing time and possible dismissal. LSU running back Derrius Guice and former Tigers quarterback Brandon Harris, a Parkway alum, have already voiced their disapproval of the school's initiative.
Several NFL teams have taken a knee, locked arms or both during the national anthem in the wake of President Donald Trump's comments last week.