Vice President Mike Pence left Sunday’s San Francisco 49ers game against the Indianapolis Colts after more than a dozen 49ers players took a knee during the national anthem.
The former Indiana governor flew in so he could watch Peyton Manning’s jersey retirement ceremony on Sunday, but Pence didn’t stick around long.
“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 said on Twitter.
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.
About an hour later, President Trump tweeted his support of Pence saying, “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.”
I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.
The White House also issued a statement from Pence, in which he says Americans should rally around the flag. “While everyone is entitled to their own opinions,” Pence said, “I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem.”
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick made headlines last fall when he knelt during the national anthem to protest police violence against people of color. “I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” Kaepernick told NFL Media at the time.
Several athletes in the Bay Area and around the country have followed Kaepernick’s example in recent weeks, drawing the ire of the Trump administration. Oakland A’s catcher Bruce Maxwell became the first MLB player to kneel during the anthem, and Trump lashed out at Golden State Warriors star Steph Curry after Curry said he hoped the team would not go to the White House for the customary championship visit.
The Associated Press contributed reporting to this story.