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High school football players kicked off team for protesting during national anthem

CROSBY, Texas -- The football coach of a private high school near Houston has thrown two players off the team after one knelt and another raised a fist during the national anthem prior to a game.

Head coach Ronnie Mitchem told the Houston Chronicle that he had an understanding with his players at Victory and Praise Christian Academy in Crosby that they would not protest during the anthem.

Mitchem, a former Marine, says he doesn't oppose acts of protest but says doing so during the anthem is offensive to veterans and others.

After the anthem concluded Friday, he told the two players to remove their uniforms and that they were dismissed from the team, the newspaper reported.

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One player's mother, Rhonda Brady, says she supports the players' actions and considered Mitchem's punishment excessive.

"I'm definitely going to have a conversation because I don't like the way that that was handled," Brady told the Houston Chronicle. "But I don't want them back on the team. A man with integrity and morals and ethics and who truly lives by that wouldn't have done anything like that."

She added, "Actions speak louder than words. So, for him to do what he did, that really spoke volumes and I don't want my kids or my nephew to be around a man with no integrity."

The protests come amidst the ongoing movement in the NFL to protest racial injustice in America. Former San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick started the kneeling movement last year.