October 08, 2017
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.
A C32 (AF2) costs $42,936/hour. Pence flew 2.5 hours from Vegas to Indianapolis and then flew back to LA 📈📈— Kevin Liptak (@Kevinliptakcnn) October 8, 2017
Pence's stunt likely cost more than $250,000 at minimum. https://t.co/Y9E9LqvhPG— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 8, 2017
Fantastic find. The photo Pence tweeted today of him with his wife at a Colts game is from 2014. It was all a set-up for a publicity stunt. https://t.co/2ENljH4m6h— (((Yair Rosenberg))) (@Yair_Rosenberg) October 8, 2017
In his poorly orchestrated and laughably transparent attempt to shame NFL players, Pence recycles a photo of him and his wife from 2014. pic.twitter.com/ED78FT0NW9— Trevor Thompson (@trethomps) October 8, 2017
To recap: Pence spent hundreds of thousands of taxpayer money and faked a photo on a stunt to deliberately stoke divisions among Americans.— Topher Spiro (@TopherSpiro) October 8, 2017
If only Mike Pence were as concerned about gun violence in America as he is about football players exercising their 1st Amendment rights.— Steve Redmond (@sjredmond) October 8, 2017
How much aid could’ve gone to hurricane victims instead of Pence going to a football game that no one wanted him at in the first place?— Scott Dworkin (@funder) October 8, 2017
Pence is VP to a president who mocked John McCain for being a prisoner of war… but kneeling during anthem is outrageous.— Amanda Terkel (@aterkel) October 8, 2017
That Pence move was literally grandstanding in a grandstand. An empty gesture from an empty suit sent by an empty president. #Colts— Rick Reilly (@ReillyRick) October 8, 2017
Pence waddled out there like the trained seal he is, and now everyone's calling it out for the pathetic race-bait stunt it was. What a joke.— Scott Weinberg (@scottEweinberg) October 8, 2017
Wait, did Pence just stage a political protest during the National Anthem?— Adam Wren (@adamwren) October 8, 2017
For a staged statement!! We already know how Trump/Pence feel about it. Just phone it in rather than wasteful flying #swampair— AlekTrvl (@achainam) October 8, 2017
Oh one last football tweet: Pence’s anthem shenanigans = the most shameless politics/sport stunt in my lifetime besides Putin’s hockey games— Jordan Becker (@Jordan_vs_Bird) October 8, 2017
Actual Footage of Mike Pence before leaving the football game: pic.twitter.com/XA4FiVm1PV— Shelf Life Atom (@Shelf_Life_Cast) October 8, 2017
What's going on in Trumpland now that everyone is chatting up Pence leaving a game today? Is this a smoke screen for what???— Cyd Carlson (@CydCarlson) October 8, 2017
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.
Reports about @Kaepernick7 standing for anthem had not been refuted. However, I cant say if they are true or not. Colin and I didn't discuss— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 8, 2017
I know @Kaepernick7 is fully committed to playing football and helping those in need. What he would do during the Anthem I do not know— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 8, 2017
Colin would have to address any future demonstrations. I didn't ask him if he would sit or stand. Our chat primarily about his will to play— Jason La Canfora (@JasonLaCanfora) October 8, 2017
Kaepernick responded to the story indirectly with a quote from Winston Churchill.
A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on.— Colin Kaepernick (@Kaepernick7) October 8, 2017
Winston S. Churchill