In Texas, two high school students have discovered that there are consequences to expressing their political views during the football game. Because they protested the national anthem before their school’s game on Friday, they were kicked off the football team. The Two Victory & Praise Christian Academy in Crosby, Texas has no tolerance for students who are voicing their protest against police brutality in the country. And that is exactly what Cedric Ingram-Lewis and Larry McCullough said they were doing. They did not honor the national anthem because they were joining the movement to raise awareness around the serious issue of police brutality and the racial injustice still going on in the United States today. And the school administrators punished them for it.
Ingram-Lewis is just 16 and a sophomore at the Texas school. His cousin, McCullough, is 18. Ingram-Lewis raised his fist during the anthem while McCullough knelt during the anthem before the game against Providence Classical.
When the anthem had finished coach Ronnie Mitchem approached the two protestors and asked them to remove their uniforms. They were done.
“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.”
Mitchem is a former Marine and took the protest personally. He felt that the students were dishonoring his service and the flag. In the locker room, he had already threatened his student players saying that if anyone protested the anthem they would be booted from the school team.
In a Facebook post, Mitchem had tried to give his students alternative ways to protest that did not involve disrespecting the anthem or the flag.
“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,” Mitchem wrote in a statement on his Facebook page.
The former Marine continued, “As a Christian, we often times have different opinions on scripture but the one common thread to all believers is the blood of Jesus and what he did at the cross for us. As Americans we have one common thread and that is that men/women of all color have fought and died to give us the right to live free and to get to play football on a Friday night and all the other liberties we have. To disrespect that is not right.”
Despite the former Marine’s views, the students don’t think it is fair that they lost their spots on the team. They think they were just using their first amendment right to protest.
“I thought we’d have punishment during practice. I was shocked that he told us to take off our uniform in front of everyone, but I got my point across,” McCullough said. “I am really going to miss playing football because this is my senior year. We have people telling us that we deserved to be kicked off the team but we have a lot of support as well.”