CROSBY, Texas- A Crosby football coach is getting some heat after he dismissed two players from his team Friday night.
The players decided to participate in the recent NFL protests during the National Anthem, but as soon as the song was over, the teens were headed home.
Larry McCollough is number three. His cousin, Cedric Ingram-Lewis is number one.
They’re two of the best players for Victory and Praise Christian Athletics, or at least they were.
“It was an honor to have you on this football team, but I'm not going to allow you to disrespect the flag. As I was walking away, he goes take your stuff off, take it off now," McCollough said.
Right there on the sidelines, Larry and Cedric removed their jerseys.
“I really felt humiliated, to have to undress in front of everyone there. From my pads to my pants, in front of everyone," McCollough said.
But Coach Ronnie Mitchem says it was the result of breaking the rules.
“I said, 'guys, we will not kneel on the National Anthem. If you do this, your days playing for the sharks are over,'" Mitchem said.
But the two had planned to kneel.
“It's the perfect time right now to raise awareness," Ingram-Lewis said.
And nothing was going to stop them.
“Just seeing the violence and stuff like that happen in the world, that’s why it’s so important to me," McCollough said.
So instead they were going to quit the team, but coach told them to come, and they’d find another solution.
“We can do it another way. I don’t have a problem with you protesting. I came up with some ideas, maybe they weren’t great ideas, but I was trying to come with other ideas that maybe we can do," Mitchem said.
And by the time the National Anthem started, Larry was on his knees and Cedric had his fist in the air.
“Me and Cedric have people in our family who have served and who are serving now. We talked about it with them, and they were okay with it. They don’t see anything wrong with it because they know were not disrespecting them or what they’re fighting for for us," McCollough said.
But as a former Marine, Coach Mitchem says it’s just something he could not stand by and watch.
“I still love them. I understand what they feel, but as a coach, we have rules, and I don’t want people disrespecting the veterans in that Shark uniform," Mitchem said.
Victory and Praise Christian Athletics is a private football program that was created by Mitchem. The teens are home schooled so there is no school district involved.
Both Cedric and Larry say they are just looking forward to basketball.
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