Vice President Mike Pence left before an Indianapolis Colts-San Francisco 49ers game in his home state of Indiana Sunday, explaining on Twitter that “@POTUS 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,” he continued. “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 vice president did stand and place hand over heart during “The Star-Spangled Banner” before leaving the event, tweeting, “We were proud to stand – with all our
@Colts – for our soldiers, our flag, and our National Anthem.”
Last month, President Donald Trump launched a stream of criticism of professional athletes who protest during the national anthem, tweeting about the “great anger” Americans feel about the issue. He also repeated a call for the National Football League to issue a new rule barring such protests and called for boycott of NFL games unless the league fires or suspends players who refuse to stand for the national anthem.
President Trump showed his support for Pence shortly thereafter, tweeting, “I asked
@VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.”
Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick was among the first to kneel during the anthem last year. CBS’s Jason La Canfora reported Sunday that Kaepernick is living in New York City and has been working out in New Jersey in hopes of landing with a team. “He’s planning on standing for the anthem if given the opportunity,” La Canfora said.