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VP Pence Leaves NFL Game After Players Protest During Anthem

09 October 2017

Vice President Mike Pence left an Indianapolis Colts game because members of the opposing San Francisco 49ers knelt during the National Anthem.

Between 15 to 23 members of the 49ers took a knee during the anthem, as many National Football League players have done to raise awareness of social injustice and racial inequality.

Pence, the former IN governor, had attended the game to watch a ceremony honouring former Colts great Peyton Manning scheduled for half-time, but chose to leave after the anthems. According to ESPN, the Colts wore black t-shirts affirming a commitment to "equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue, and opportunity", and stood with arms locked during the anthem, rather than with the traditionally reverent hand-on-heart gesture.

He said he doesn't think it's too much to ask NFL players to respect the flag and national anthem. He also attended May's Indianapolis 500, a family tradition.

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After leaving the game, Pence posted a photo of himself and his wife standing for the anthem at the game on Sunday.

He said in a tweet on Sunday that he asked Pence to leave the stadium "if any player kneeled, disrespecting our country".

Sharing a statement on Twitter, Pence said: "I stand with ‪@POTUS Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem".

President Donald Trump later tweeted: "I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen", Trump tweeted.

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The comments sparked swift backlash from some players, coaches, and owners, many of whom have continued to kneel during the anthem.

At an event for Luther Strange in Huntsville, Ala. last month, Trump said that he thought owners would let go of players who knelt during the national anthem.

Instead, Pence spent most of Saturday honoring victims of the Las Vegas shooting before returning to his home state.

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VP Pence Leaves NFL Game After Players Protest During Anthem