Vice President Mike Pence was in attendance at Sunday’s NFL game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers. As about 12 players knelt during the national anthem in continued protest, Pence walked out of the game staging the Trump administration’s opposition to the players.
When asked about the walkout, Pence said:
‘I left today’s Colts game because President Trump 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.’
In response to Pence’s planned walkout, the NFL Player’s Association released a statement on Sunday evening affirming players’ Constitutional rights to peacefully protest.
The players aren’t staying silent about it either. Eric Reid, safety for the 49ers, called Pence’s walking out a “PR stunt” and said:
‘This is what systemic oppression looks like. A man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple of things out and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts.’
— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) October 8, 2017
Players began kneeling during the national anthem after NFL free agent Colin Kaepernick started doing it last season as a way to protest racial inequality. Last month, Trump blatantly attacked players for kneeling during the anthem and called for people to walk out of NFL games if they saw this happening. He also begged the NFL to fire players who kneel instead of stand.
After Trump’s over-the-top comments, NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell issued this statement:
‘The NFL and our players are at our best when we help create a sense of unity in our country and our culture. There is no better example than the amazing response from our clubs and players to the terrible natural disasters we’ve experienced over the last month.’
He went to say:
‘Divisive comments like these demonstrate an unfortunate lack of respect for the NFL, our great game and all of our players, and a failure to understand the overwhelming force for good our clubs and players represent in our communities.’
The NFL is not backing down and continues to support their players’ rights as they 100 percent should.
Featured image by Ethan Miller/Getty Images