Two Texas high school football players were thrown off their team literally moments after kneeling in protest during the national anthem before a game on Friday.
The two teens from Victory & Praise Christian Academy in Crosby, Texas planned the protest in advance — and even told their coach — who immediately asked his players to take off their uniforms and booted them off the team, according to ABC station KTRK.
Coach Ronnie Ray Mitchem told KTRK he is a military veteran and has a long-standing rule players must stand for the national anthem.
“There is a proper time to do something in a proper way,” Mitchem told KTRK.
The two players, Cedric Ingram-Lewis and Larry McCullough, told KTRK they were happy with their protest, due to the attention it’s gotten.
Ingram-Lewis’ mother told KTRK she doesn’t believe her son should have been thrown off the team, and criticized Mitchem for the decision.
“He has a slave master mentality,” she said. “If you were to go back to that, when they wanted to tell us, ‘This is what you are going to do and this is how you do it.'”
The protests echoed those of NFL players over the past two seasons. The protests first gained national attention when then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling before games in 2016 in order to draw attention to racial injustice in the country.
The controversy was reignited when President Donald Trump told supporters at a rally last week any player who kneels during the anthem “should be fired.” The comment drew widespread criticism from players and owners, and a number of players kneeled before last Sunday’s games.
Mitchem told KTRK he has stopped watching NFL games due to the protests.
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