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October 08, 2017

Twitter slams Pence for bailing on NFL game after players kneel in protest

Vice President Mike Pence and his wife walked out on NFL game Sunday afternoon as members of the San Francisco 49ers again knelt during the national anthem prior to facing the Colts in Indianapolis.

Pence arranged plans to attend the game in his home state but bailed amid ongoing tensions between the Trump administration and professional athletes. 

The protests began last fall at the height of the contentious 2016 presidential election, intensifying last month after Trump called out NFL players in a series of inflammatory tweets. Some players now cite the president's divisive rhetoric and positions on an array of social issues as reasons for their ongoing demonstrations. 

President Trump tweeted later Sunday that he personally asked his vice president to leave the game. 

Pence's exit provoked sharp reactions on Twitter, where much of the combative anthem standoff has unfolded since Trump first spoke out on the issue. Many argued Pence's dramatic statement was a costly public relations stunt that he should have foreseen. The 49ers have been kneeling for the national anthem all year long. 

The walkout came on the same day a preliminary report suggested Colin Kaepernick, the former 49ers quarterback who began the anthem protests last season, would be willing to stand in the future if he were given an opportunity to play in the NFL again. 

NFL Network reporter Jason La Canfora later clarified that the report was not based on his conversation with Kaepernick. 

Kaepernick responded to the story indirectly with a quote from Winston Churchill.