Youth football players kneel during national anthem

ST. LOUIS, MO (NBC News) — A St. Louis area youth football team is gaining attention for taking a knee during the national anthem.

The team, made up of mostly 8-year-olds, knelt during the anthem before their game on Sunday.

Their coach says the demonstration was the players’ idea.

He says several players asked him about the unrest in St. Louis, following a judge’s decision to find a former police officer not guilty of shooting and killing a black man.

He said the player’s questions about the unrest led to a conversation about racial equality and the justice system.

The conversation turned to NFL quarterback, Colin Kaepernick, who made headlines for protesting racial inequality by kneeling during the national anthem.

Their coach says said the players’ parents were present during the discussion at practice.

The team has faced some criticism for kneeling.

Their coach says the players are young, but have a good understanding of the issues they discussed and meant no disrespect to those who served the country.

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