TX high school players anthem
KTRK
TX high school players anthem
Now playing
00:51
High school players kneel, kicked off team
Stephen Curry Van Jones Show
CNN
Stephen Curry Van Jones Show
Now playing
02:58
Stephen Curry opens up about Trump feud
Steve Kerr Axe Files
Steve Kerr Axe Files
Now playing
01:58
NBA coach calls out Trump for NFL attacks
Bruce Bennett/Getty Images/File
Now playing
01:06
Charles Barkley knocks Roy Moore
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 05:  Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Oakland Raiders looks on during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 5, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida.  (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images
MIAMI GARDENS, FL - NOVEMBER 05: Marshawn Lynch #24 of the Oakland Raiders looks on during a game against the Miami Dolphins at Hard Rock Stadium on November 5, 2017 in Miami Gardens, Florida. (Photo by Mike Ehrmann/Getty Images)
Now playing
00:47
Trump calls on NFL to suspend Marshawn Lynch
Getty Images
Now playing
01:41
Trump's war of words with LaVar Ball
lavar ball cuomo intv 2
CNN
lavar ball cuomo intv 2
Now playing
01:12
LaVar Ball: I sent Trump shoes after fallout
Getty Images
Now playing
01:58
UCLA basketball players released
Sep 24, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Marcus Peters (22) protests next to running back Charcandrick West (35) and defensive tackle Roy Miller (98) during the National Anthem prior to the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Kelvin Kuo/USA TODAY Sports
Sep 24, 2017; Carson, CA, USA; Kansas City Chiefs defensive back Marcus Peters (22) protests next to running back Charcandrick West (35) and defensive tackle Roy Miller (98) during the National Anthem prior to the game against the Los Angeles Chargers at StubHub Center. Mandatory Credit: Kelvin Kuo-USA TODAY Sports
Now playing
01:28
How sports and politics clashed through history
Sports Illustrated
Now playing
01:28
Curry slams latest Sports Illustrated cover
Rex Ryan Trump NFL pissed orig vstan dlewis_00003104.jpg
Rex Ryan Trump NFL pissed orig vstan dlewis_00003104.jpg
Now playing
01:02
Ex-NFL coach who backed Trump: 'I'm pissed'
Now playing
02:02
Spike Lee, Hines Ward spar over politics in sports
whpb 09282017
CNN
whpb 09282017
Now playing
02:41
Sanders, reporter spar on Trump's NFL comments
nfl protests trump zw js orig_00001313.jpg
nfl protests trump zw js orig_00001313.jpg
Now playing
02:26
#TakeAKnee heats up on and off the field
Now playing
01:56
Costas: Patriotism comes in many forms
Pool
Now playing
01:24
Sessions: NFL protests are a big mistake

Story highlights

The coach forced them to take off their uniforms on the field in front of everyone, teens said

The players wanted to protest like Colin Kaepernick and other NFL players

CNN —  

Two Texas teenagers were kicked off their local football team for protesting during the national anthem prior to a Friday night game.

Both players, who are cousins, chose to protest in different ways. Larry McCullough, 18, chose to kneel while his younger cousin, 16-year-old Cedric “CJ” Ingram Lewis, raised his fist in salute, according to CNN affiliate KPRC.

The coach immediately made the duo take off their uniforms and leave the field, the boys said.

“He said, ‘Take off your uniform, right now,’ and he had me and CJ strip down in our uniform – pads, the pants and all, in front of everyone,” McCullough told CNN affiliate KTRK. He and his cousin said they were humiliated.

“He’s a pastor,” said Rhonda Brady, Lewis’ mother. “The way he handled it is almost a slap in the face.”

“I placed them in a Christian-based program so they wouldn’t have to go through things like this,” Brady told CNN. “They were really, really hurt.”

Ronnie Mitchem, the pastor of the Victory and Praise Worship Center in Crosby, Texas, started and coaches the football team for students who are homeschooled or attend a private school without a football team, according to a page on the church’s website.

Read more: ‘The black fist of our time’

Mitchem, who is a US military veteran, told CNN affiliate KTRK that his players weren’t allowed to kneel during the anthem as part of a longstanding rule.

“I have nothing against those young men. I love them,” Mitchem said. But he took issue with the way McCullough and Lewis went about their protest.

CNN reached out to both Mitchem and Victory Praise and Worship Center for comment, but has not heard back.

Mitchem said in a post on his Facebook page that he didn’t take issue with people protesting “if it is done the right way.”

“But to disrespect the flag that gives us the right to protest is the wrong way to do it,” he wrote.

“Though many may disagree with me, this is what I believe and as an American I have that right,” Mitchem said. “I pray these young men across America can come to understand there is a right and wrong way to do things.”

McCullough said disrespecting the flag was not his intention.

“It was really showing the injustice for black people,” he told KPRC, “all the stuff that’s going on in the NFL, stuff like that, so I feel I need to be a part of it, too.”

McCullough and Lewis’ protest comes at a time professional football players in the NFL have taken knees or locked arms during the National Anthem, after President Donald Trump said at a political rally in Alabama that he’d like to see those players fired.

Colin Kaepernick, a former quarterback for the San Francisco 49ers – currently a free agent and without a team – first started kneeling during the national anthem before games during the 2016 season to bring attention to issues of racial inequality and injustice.