Two Houston-area high school football players kicked off team for protest

AUSTIN, Texas (Reuters) - Two black Houston-area players have been kicked off their private Christian high school's football team after protesting during the national anthem, with one kneeling and the other raising his fist, local media reported on Saturday.

U.S. President Donald Trump in the past week has denounced National Football League players who kneel or protest during the anthem, an action some black players have taken in the past year to protest racial injustice in America.

Victory and Praise Christian Academy head coach Ronnie Mitchem told the players to take off their uniforms after their protest on Friday night, TV station KTRK reported.

Mitchem, a U.S. military veteran, had told his players not to protest because it would be offensive to him and other military veterans. "I have personal opinions, too, and as an American I have a right to those opinions," Mitchem told the TV station.

The school is located in Crosby, Texas, northeast of Houston.

One of the players, Cedric Ingram-Lewis, told the TV station he comes from a family of veterans and active-duty military personnel, "and they believe what we did is right."

Many of the students on the school's football team are home-schooled, KTRK reported.

(Reporting by Jon Herskovitz; Editing by Will Dunham)