Ronnie Mitchem follows the teachings of Jesus Christ.
He’s a Marine veteran. He’s a preacher. And he’s also the head coach at Victory and Worship Academy in Crosby, Texas.
The other day he called his team together and told the boys he would not tolerate anyone protesting the national anthem.
“As Americans we have one common thread and that is that men/women of all color have fought and died to give us the right to live free and get to play football on a Friday night and all the other liberties we have,” the coach wrote on Facebook. “To disrespect that is not right.”
So when cousins Larry McCullough and Cedric Ingram Lewis ignored the coach’s orders and decided to protest, the coach took immediate action. Click here to watch the video.
He made both players remove their uniforms on the field and dismissed them from the team.
“I want to be clear that I don’t have a problem with people protesting if it is done the right way,” the coach said. “But to disrespect the flag that gives us the right to protest is the wrong way to do it. I gave the two players other ways to protest that I felt was fair.”
But instead of following their coach’s instructions, the young men took matters into their own hands.
“I pretty much knew how he looked at us when I was holding my fist up and my cousin was kneeling,” Lewis told CBS in Houston.
His mother was furious with the coach’s actions – accusing him of humiliating the boys in front of the crowd.
“Him standing as a Christian and a pastor that was just not right at all on any level,” Rhonda Brady told the television station.
Coach Mitchem delivered a powerful retort – reminding us that America is not about skin color. It’s about freedom.
“Americans know and understand that if we lose that one common thread – the love of country and respect for what we have – then it won’t be long before we lose that freedom that we have,” he wrote on Facebook.
A few points to consider:
The boys were not kicked off the team for protesting the national anthem. They were kicked off the team for disobeying their coach.
“A man with integrity and morals and ethics and who truly believes by that would not have done anything like that,” parent Brady told the Houston Chronicle.
On the contrary, a football coach without integrity would’ve allowed the football team to do whatever they wanted – without consequences.
“Actions speak louder than words,” Brady told a local news reporter.
I believe it’s fair to say that Coach Mitchem’s actions could be heard across the football fields from coast to coast.
He demonstrated to those young boys what it means to take responsibility for their actions, that there are consequences to disobeying authority.
“Though many may disagree with me this is what I believe and as an American I have that right,” he said. “I pray these young men across American can come to understand there is a right and wrong way to do things.”
Unfortunately, we live in a society where personal responsibility is an archaic concept. Parents teach their children they are never to blame. It’s always someone else’s fault.
Ms. Brady told the newspaper she does not want her son or her nephew to be coached by Mitchem.
“I don’t want my kids or my nephew to be around a man with no integrity,” she said.
That’s too bad – because Ronnie Mitchem is the kind of football coach – the kind of preacher - who can turn undisciplined young boys into fine, upstanding young men.