Cedric Ingram-Lewis and Larry McCullough were removed from Victory & Praise Christian Academy's football team after protesting during the national anthem this week. Ingram-Lewis raised his fist, recalling the salute of John Carlos and Tommie Smith at the 1968 Olympics, while McCullough kneeled. Head coach Ronnie Mitchem immediately removed them from the team, declaring their actions "offensive to veterans and others."
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."
The school's private, so it can do what it pleases; the boys' recourse is to leave or do as they are ordered.
There's no shots of the protest, so I've included the classic photo of Carlos and Smith to remind us of the sort of transgression Mitchem (right) has a problem with. This man describes himself as a "former" marine. One wonders: what was he fighting for, if not freedom?
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