Vice-president Mike Pence and his wife Karen went to the Indianapolis Colts' football game today to cheer on their favorite team and see the club retire the uniform of former great, quarterback Peyton Manning. But when 23 members of the visiting San Francisco 49ers dishonored America by taking a knee during the national anthem, the VP left. Left-stream media predictably put on an all-out blitz against the VP.
After their departure, Pence tweeted:
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.
Later, President Donald Trump tweeted that, in advance of the game, he had requested Pence head for the exit if any players took a knee. “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.”
Of course, you can imagine the howling cries from the Left!
Deadspin is a vulgar blog which once called Pence "an f------ joke," and today Lauren Theisen called him a "fragile stooge" and a "a cauliflower" who "walked out of today’s 49ers-Colts game, because the players supposedly disrespected the troops during the rote nationalistic pre-game ceremony."
Theisen said, "While national anthem demonstrations have been intended to protest police violence, which disproportionately affects black Americans, Pence has said that there is “too much of this talk of institutional bias or racism in law enforcement.” Then Theisen issued an update claiming: "Donald Trump, who was probably feeling cranky that his VP was getting more attention than him, claims that actually, this was his idea, and he told Pence to leave the football game if any players kneeled for the anthem. Is this more or less childish if it were true?"
A few hours later, Theisen updated with a quote "on this whole stupid charade" from the 49ers' Eric Reid, who joined Colin Kaepernick last year in taking a knee and continues to protest this season:
“My honest reaction … Does anybody know the last time he’s been to a football game?” Reid said, via a video from Jennifer Lee Chan of Niners Nation. “With that being said, he tweeted out a three-year old photo of him at a Colts game so with the information I have the last time he was at a Colts game was three years ago. So this looks like a PR stunt to me. He knew our team has had the most players protest. He knew that we were probably going to do it again. 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. Based on the information I have, that’s the assumption I’ve made.”
Frank Schwab, the editor of Yahoo Sports' Shutdown Corner, also piled on in criticism of the vice-president, writing: "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":
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.
Schwab accused Trump and Pence of attacking NFL players for peaceful protests as a way of rallying support for the administration, then added, "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."
CNN's Brian Stelter accused Pence of planning his actions ahead of time. "It seems like it was a staged moment for Pence to walk out to make a statement," he said during a panel discussion.