Youth football team gets season cancelled after kneeling during the national anthem

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A Texas youth football team is hanging up the cleats early this season after the team was shut down amid national anthem protest controversy.

Following the lead of San Francisco 49ers' Colin Kaepernick, the 11 and 12-year-old Beaumont Bulls kneeled during a game in early September to protest unfair treatment of minorities in America.

The actions sparked controversy within and outside of the Bay Area Football League. Parents questioned organization leadership, and players began dropping out after head coach Rah-Rah Barber was suspended.

Coach Barber said the league's board initially supported his efforts, but he was later suspended due to public scrutiny outside of the organization.

READ MORE: Entire high school football team kneels during national anthem before game

"I was very transparent with players, parents and the organization when getting permission to do the protest," Barber told 12 News Now. "If I forced them to protest and forced them to do things they didn't want to do, would you think the parents would have followed me?"

According to Barber, players stopped showing up to practice because they were upset with the league for suspending him –- not because they didn't agree with the protest.

Now, the league says the team is shutting down because they don't have enough players on the team. The league requires 13 players, and less than five showed up to practice after Barber was suspended.

"It obviously makes me sad and disappointed," parent April Parkerson said. "It just adds more fuel to our passion. We know we were doing the right thing."

Professional athletes kneeling during national anthem:

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Colin Kaepernick and more pro athletes protesting during the national anthem
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Colin Kaepernick and more pro athletes protesting during the national anthem
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Colin Kaepernick #7 of the San Francisco 49ers kneels in protest during the national anthem prior to playing the Los Angeles Rams in their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Robert Reiners/Getty Images)
SANTA CLARA, CA - OCTOBER 02: (L-R) Rashard Robinson #33, Antoine Bethea #41, and Jaquiski Tartt #29 of the San Francisco 49ers raise their fists in protest during the national anthem prior to the game against the Dallas Cowboys at Levi's Stadium on October 2, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
CINCINNATI, OH - SEPTEMBER 25: Brandon Marshall #54 of the Denver Broncos takes a knee in protest during the National Anthem before the game against the Cincinnati Bengals at Paul Brown Stadium on September 25, 2016 in Cincinnati, Ohio.The Broncos defeated the Bengals 29-17. (Photo by John Grieshop/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 22: Duane Brown #76 of the Houston Texans raises his fist during the national anthem before the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 22, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Adam Glanzman/Getty Images)
FOXBORO, MA - SEPTEMBER 18: Kenny Stills #10 of the Miami Dolphins (C) kneels during the national anthem before the game against the New England Patriots at Gillette Stadium on September 18, 2016 in Foxboro, Massachusetts. (Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images)
Philadelphia Eagles players Steven Means (51), Malcolm Jenkins (27) and Ron Brooks (33) raise their fists in the air during the national anthem for a game against the Chicago Bears on Monday, Sept. 19, 2016 at Soldier Field in Chicago, Ill. (Chris Sweda/Chicago Tribune/TNS via Getty Images)
USA's Megan Rapinoe, right, kneels next to teammates Samanth Mewis (20) Christen Press (12), Ali Krieger (11), Crystal Dunn (16) and Ashlyn Harris (22) as the US national anthem is played before an exhibition soccer match against Netherlands Sunday, Sept. 18, 2016, in Atlanta. (AP Photo/John Bazemore)
FILE - In this Thursday, Sept. 1, 2016 file photo, San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, middle, kneels during the national anthem before the team's NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers, in San Diego. NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell disagrees with Kaepernick's choice to kneel during the national anthem, but recognizes the quarterback's right to protest. (AP Photo/Chris Carlson, File)
Sep 8, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) kneels during the national anthem next to defensive end Jared Crick (93) and defensive tackle Billy Winn (97) and defensive tackle Adam Gotsis (99) before the game against the Carolina Panthers at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Ron Chenoy-USA TODAY Sports
From left, Miami Dolphins' Jelani Jenkins, Arian Foster, Michael Thomas, and Kenny Stills, kneel during the singing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Seattle Seahawks, Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016, in Seattle. (AP Photo/Stephen Brashear)
SANTA CLARA, CA - SEPTEMBER 12: Kenny Britt #18 and Robert Quinn #94 of the Los Angeles Rams raise their fists in protest prior to playing the San Francisco 49ers in their NFL game at Levi's Stadium on September 12, 2016 in Santa Clara, California. (Photo by Ezra Shaw/Getty Images)
Phoenix Mercury's Kelsey Bone, right, and Mistie Bass, second from right, kneel during the playing of the national anthem before the start of a first round WNBA playoff basketball game against the Indiana Fever, Wednesday, Sept. 21, 2016, in Indianapolis. (AP Photo/Darron Cummings)
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