Vice President Mike Pence left an NFL game early after several players knelt during the national anthem this well. The Vice President was visiting the Lucas Oil Stadium, home of the Indianapolis Colts, when players for the opposing team knelt during the national anthem. The Colts were playing the San Francisco 49ers – and multiple 49ers refused to recognize the national anthem.
Pence was on hand for a ceremony for Peyton Manning (Pence’s wife was wearing a Manning, #18 jersey for the game). Pence, the former governor of Indiana, was there to see Manning inducted into the Ring of Honor; his number would also be retired at this time. Instead of staying for the ceremony, though, Pence left after the display by opposing players.
“We were proud to stand – with all our @Colts – for our soldiers, our flag, and our National Anthem,” he 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.”
After leaving the Colts game, the Vice President head west to Los Angeles, where he kicked off a series of fundraisers. Pence’s trip took him to Newport Beach, Bakersfield and Sacramento, and was designed to generate funds for several key committees.
While the former Indiana governor was in town to honor the Colts’s latest inductee, the trip served other purposes as well. Pence headed west to California to push for funds for several Republican initiatives and campaigns. He also worked with leaders to talk about the latest tax reform plans and budgets.
One of the greatest areas of interest for the upcoming budget, at least to California politicians and residents, was the latest reform for Medicaid. Changes in the way that Medicaid grants would work could end up costing California more money in the coming years.
The latest group to refuse to acknowledge the anthem or display even a modicum of respect for the nation that is making it so easy for them to find success is from California as well. All NFL members who refused to kneel were on the opposing team – and that was enough to get Vice President Pence moving on to the next stage of his trip.
The walkout, combined with increased and ongoing fan resistance to the NFL custom of taking a knee in protest continues to impact the league’s profitability. While these kneeling players are often lauded for their non-verbal social justice commentary, the accolades come from outside their audience. Ratings, ticket sales and popularity continue to be damaged by players with outside agendas.
This latest walkout highlights the issue for conservatives and football fans, and highlights once again the disparity between highly paid players and the fans they hope will cheer them on for disrespecting the anthem. While Pence showed the most noticeable reaction to the anthem protest, he was not alone, and the NFL continues to struggle with this issue.