More than 20 players on the San Francisco 49ers took a knee during the national anthem before their game with the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday. Vice President Mike Pence, who attended the game, responded with his own protest. He walked out.
Pence tweeted a statement, explaining his move. “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 @POTUS Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.”
The 49ers who took a knee had their hands over their hearts, while their teammates who chose to stand, had one hand on their kneeling teammate’s shoulder and the other over their hearts.
The Colts also staged a peaceful protest — wearing black T-shirts with “We Will” on the front and “Sand for equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue, opportunity” on the back. They stood with their arms locked with their fellow teammates during the anthem. (ESPN)
- Trump tweeted, “I asked @VP Pence to leave the stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.”
- 49ers safety Eric Reid called Pence out, saying it looked like “a PR stunt.”
- The photo Pence tweeted of he and his wife appeared to be from 2014. He’s wearing a Colts polo shirt in the photo, but had a suit on during Sunday’s national anthem.
- A pool reporter with the VP was told to stay outside the stadium because Pence might leave the game early.
- Peyton Manning was honored before the game, but Pence’s decision to leave the game upstaged the big event.