“I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen,” said President Trump, on Twitter.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017
Vice President Mike Pence attended the Colts game, in which Peyton Manning’s number was to be retired, as a celebration of the renowned quarterback’s contributions to Pence’s home state of Indiana, of which Pence is also a former governor.
He abruptly left, however, after the national anthem because of a protest by between 15 and 23 members of the San Francisco 49ers team, where members of the Colts meanwhile stood for the anthem with their arms linked.
Pence said: “I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem. At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us. 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. I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.”
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.
— Vice President Pence (@VP) October 8, 2017
Former 49ers player, Colin Kaepernick, has stated that he would now stand for the anthem, if he were signed by an NFL team, because he does not want the increasing politicization of his protest to detract from the positive message he was hoping to deliver regarding police brutality against African Americans. Other NFL players have repeatedly emphasized that their demonstrations during the anthem are not meant to disparage the flag, or American veterans.
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