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Vice President Mike Pence said he walked out of an NFL game in his home state of Indiana on Sunday because there were players who knelt during the national anthem.
The game was between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis. It was players on the San Francisco side who protested during the 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,” Pence tweeted. “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.”
The debate over protesting during the anthem was reignited weeks ago when President Donald Trump referred to a player who protests in such a way as a “son of a bitch” and said they should be fired by the team owner. Trump then hammered away at the issue for days afterward, mostly over Twitter.
The NFL and players’ union condemned the remarks and said players had the right to peacefully protest.
Players blasted Trump via social media for his remarks.
Last season, current free-agent quarterback Colin Kaepernick was the first to sit out the national anthem in protest of the treatment of African-Americans in America, especially at the hands of police officers. Since then, numerous other players have protested in similar fashion.
The NFL did not immediately return a request for comment.
— Vice President Pence (@VP) October 8, 2017
In a tweet Sunday afternoon, Trump said he asked Pence to leave if players knelt. Early Monday morning, he added that Pence was “receiving great praise” for leaving game after players showed “such disrespect.”
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017
The trip by @VP Pence was long planned. He is receiving great praise for leaving game after the players showed such disrespect for country!
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 9, 2017
Oc.t 9, 5:30 a.m.: Updated with Monday Trump tweet
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