Pence leaves Colts game early over national anthem protest


Vice President Mike Pence left Sunday's game between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers because of protests during the national anthem.

National anthem protests took center stage late last month after Trump demanded the NFL fire players who knelt in protest over social injustices.

Pence tweeted his decision, saying he would "not dignify any event that disrespects" the flag.

"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", Pence tweeted.

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The Colts engaged in their own form of protest, sporting black t-shirts which read "We will", on the front and, "Stand for equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue, opportunity", on the back. The players stood with their arms locked during the anthem.

The game was between the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers.

Many franchises have also released statements of support for their players, and a poll has also indicated a majority of Americans disagree with Mr Trump's demand for kneeling players to be fired. NBC News' Vaughn Hillyard tweeted that the media pool was kept in vans and was not allowed to follow Pence into the stadium.

The Colts and 49ers have both had players kneel during the 2017 season. The game was also a ceremony to retire former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning's number and celebrate his contributions to Indiana. Pence issued a public statement nearly immediately afterward, saying he did not want to "dignify" the game and the act of protest.

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Last weekend, Trump again raised the issue on Twitter, demanding players stand for the anthem.

The protest began in August 2016, when former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick sat during the national anthem in preseason games.

"He's not planning on kneeling.and he's planning on standing for the anthem", La Canfora said. He added that he was "proud" of him and Karen.

Meanwhile, Kaepernick is still in pursuit of a team in the National Football League willing to take him on.

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