Vice President Mike Pence leaves Colts game over anthem 'disrespect'

Frank Schwab

Vice President Mike Pence left the Indianapolis Colts game before it started on Sunday, making a show out of leaving when players from the visiting team knelt for the national anthem.

President Donald Trump later tweeted that he had asked Pence to leave the game if anyone knelt.

According to Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel, no Colts players took a knee while 15-20 players from the visiting San Francisco 49ers kneeled.

Pence tweeted the following statement explaining his departure:

“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 at 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. 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. I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.”

It seems pretty clear what Trump and the former governor of Indiana’s plan here was. The national anthem protests have been a storyline all season. So for the duo to act shocked to see a protest when Pence showed up to a game — at great taxpayer expense, no less — seems pretty disingenuous.

But hey, #sticktosports.

Attacking NFL players for peaceably protesting seems to be an easy way for President Donald Trump and his administration to rally support. It’s incredibly disingenuous to make this a story of the players being anti-military, because at no point in any protest have any players ever said they were against the military. But still that narrative persists, even with the vice president on Sunday.

If you thought that the issue was dying down, after many protests in Week 3, Trump and Pence made sure it was back in the news on Sunday.

U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said he left the Colts game on Sunday over anthem protests by players. (AP)
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence said he left the Colts game on Sunday over anthem protests by players. (AP)

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Frank Schwab is the editor of Shutdown Corner on Yahoo Sports. Have a tip? Email him at or follow him on Twitter!

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