National

Vice President Pence leaves NFL game after players kneel during national anthem

Vice President Mike Pence left the NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Indianapolis after some players knelt during the national anthem.
Vice President Mike Pence left the NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Indianapolis after some players knelt during the national anthem. AP

Vice President Mike Pence, the former governor of Indiana, left the NFL game between the 49ers-Colts Sunday after some San Francisco players knelt during the national anthem at Lucas Oil Stadium.

Pence departed as the game was beginning after more than 20 members of the 49ers knelt during the national anthem. That’s been a major issue for President Donald Trump in recent weeks.

“I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence wrote on Twitter.

A few minutes later, he added, “While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem.”

Pence also quickly posted a statement, suggesting he was anticipating the 49ers’ stance.

President Donald Trump later tweeted: “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.”

Last week the 49ers organized a team-wide gesture, one in which 30 players knelt during the anthem, one hand over their hearts, while teammates stood behind them with one hand on the kneeling players’ shoulders and the other over their hearts.

Sunday’s stance appeared less organized, but at least 20 players took a knee while a few others were behind them with hands on their shoulders. All of the Colts players appeared to stand during the anthem.

Pence flew in so he could watch Peyton Manning’s jersey retirement ceremony on Sunday. Manning will become the first Indianapolis-era player in Colts history to have his number retired and will also be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.

Matt Barrows: @mattbarrows

  Comments