News & Politics

Two High School Football Players Kicked off Team for Protesting Anthem

American football line of scrimmage (Digital Enhancement)

And a Marine shall show them the way.

A high school football coach who served in the Marines acted with swiftness and certainty when he saw two of his players protest the national anthem.

He told them to take off their uniforms then and there and that they were kicked off the team.

The incident occurred at Victory & Praise Christian Academy.

Houston Chronicle:

Two Victory & Praise Christian Academy football players were kicked off the team for protesting during the national anthem at a game Friday night.

Cedric Ingram-Lewis raised his fist while cousin Larry McCullough knelt during the anthem ahead of the team’s game against Providence Classical.

After the anthem ended, head coach Ronnie Mitchem instructed them to take off their uniforms and kicked them off the team. Mitchem is a former Marine and pastor who started the church-based football program in Crosby six years ago.

Ingram-Lewis, a sophomore, said the topic of protesting had come up in the locker room before and his cousin McCullough, a senior, even announced he would kneel via social media. The coach had told players he did not want anyone to kneel, citing his service in the military.

“He told us that disrespect will not be tolerated,” Lewis said, recalling the moments after the anthem ended. “He told us to take off our uniform and leave it there.”

Here’s a local know-nothing columnist who can’t tell the difference between kneeling to give thanks to God and kneeling to disrespect the flag:

I know high school football coaches are gods in this state – I’ve written some near-worshiping odes to a few myself – but Mitchem, who is a combination head football coach and pastor, did not make the best use his power in this case.

He should be ashamed for not setting a better example for the young men on his football team.

Worse yet, he told the Chronicle’s Adam Coleman that he supported his players kneeling if it came after a touchdown.

So, you can exercise your right to free speech only if you’re good enough to score a touchdown?

Sorry Coach, that is not how things work in America.

“That was my point of view,” Mitchem said. “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.”

Thank you for your service to our country, but a fist that wasn’t pressed against someone’s face should hardly be so offensive, even to a former Marine, that it required the kids be removed from the team.

And a knee taken at any time should hardly be deemed offensive at a Christian school. I repeat, a Christian school.

Hey, Victory and Praise Christian Academy … what would Jesus do?

If he had lived in Texas, Jesus would probably have been a huge football fan — and approved of players kneeling in thanks after a touchdown. As for raising a fist or kneeling during the anthem, I doubt whether he would have had an opinion at all, rendering unto Caesar what was Caesar’s — as he believed.

A few coaches with this kind of attitude at the professional level would have saved the NFL a lot of heartache. Imagine making the players strip off their uniforms on the field and walk off in humiliation!

Pastor Mitchem likes to say, “We are on the right side of Houston and the winning side of God.” Correct on both counts.