US high school student kicked off football team for kneeling during national anthem

US high school student kicked off football team for kneeling during national anthem
Photo credit: Reuters / file

Two high school American football players in Houston, Texas, have been thrown off their team after protesting during the national anthem before a game.

One of the two students had kneeled, mimicking the protest started by former San Francisco 49ers star Colin Kaepernick last year, while the other raised his hand in a fist.

Head coach Ronnie Mitchem, from the Victory and Praise Christian Academy, told local Houston Chronicle the students knew they weren't allowed to protest during the anthem.

Immediately after the protest the two were kicked off the team, with Mitchem ordering them to take off their uniforms and leave.

"I'm a former Marine. That just doesn't fly and they knew that," he told the paper.

"They chose to do that and they had to pay for the consequences."

He said the pair should have protested in another way instead of during the national anthem, such as kneeling after a touchdown.

The protests began last year, sparked by Kaepernick, who took a knee during the national anthem to protest against police brutality.

It's since kicked off again this year, after US President Trump lashed out at protesting players, calling them a "son of a bitch".

"Standing with locked arms is good, kneeling is not acceptable. Bad ratings!" he tweeted late last month.

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