Vice President Pence leaves NFL game after players kneel

INDIANAPOLIS (WPVI) -- Vice President Mike Pence left an NFL game in Indianapolis after several San Francisco 49ers players knelt during the National Anthem.

Member of the San Francisco 49ers kneel during the playing of the national anthem before an NFL football game against the Indianapolis Colts, Sunday, Oct. 8, 2017, in Indianapolis.

"I left today's Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem," Pence tweeted.

Pence's statement continued:

"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. 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."

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He then tweeted a photo of himself standing for the National Athem, saying, "We were proud to stand - with all our @Colts - for our soldiers, our flag, and our National Anthem."

Minutes later, President Donald Trump tweeted that he told Pence to leave should any NFL players kneel.

"I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen," Trump tweeted.

Just two hours earlier, Pence tweeted a photo along with his wife sitting in the stands of Lucas Oil Stadium.

"Looking forward to cheering for our @Colts & honoring the great career of #18 Peyton Manning at @LucasOilStadium today. Go Colts!" Pence tweeted.

The Colts had retweeted that tweet.

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Pence was in the crowd for the game where the Colts were honoring Peyton Manning. Manning was being inducted into the team's Ring of Honor.

The NFL protests began last season with quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who knelt during the national anthem to bring more attention to the killings of black men by police officers. The protests spread this season after the former San Francisco 49er was unable to sign on with another team.


The Associated Press contributed to this report.
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