Mike Pence, thankfully, knows the importance of respecting both the flag and national anthem of this country – something that the NFL protesters have yet to learn.
According to a Twitter post from ABC News, the very last thing Vice President Pence did before walking out on the Colts-49ers game this past Sunday was to put his hand on his heart and stand up for the national anthem, in contrast to the players.
During the Sunday NFL game between the 49ers and the Colts, some of the players knelt during the anthem ahead of the game to protest social injustice. This move prompted Vice President Mike Pence to leave Lucas Oil Stadium, but not before putting his hand over his heart to show respect to his country.
He issued the following statement soon after: “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.
“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,” Pence concluded, according to CBS Sports.
Some have suspected that Pence was prepared to leave early in the first place, as the pool of journalists that accompanied the Vice President was not permitted into the stadium. Instead, they were told to stay in their vans, as one staffer said, “there may be an early departure from the game,” in the likelihood that the NFL players chose to disrespect the nation in front of their Vice President.
“I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen,” tweeted Trump, seemingly confirming this idea that the president and VP spoke about the possibility.
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017
While the move was appreciated by patriotic Americans and NFL fans who’ve had enough of these protests, Pence still drew the ire of many critics as well.
Senator Brian Schatz (D-HI) tweeted that “Wait. This was orchestrated to make a point? That’s not an inexpensive thing to do.”
Wait. This was orchestrated to make a point? That’s not an inexpensive thing to do. https://t.co/Ze5jDw4Ifu
— Brian Schatz (@brianschatz) October 8, 2017
Eric Reid of the 49ers expressed similar thoughts to the Democrat Senator’s. “With the information I have, the last time he went to a Colts game was three years ago, so this looks like a PR stunt to me,” Reid said. “He knew our team has had the most players protest. He knew we were probably going to do it again. And so this is what systemic oppression looks like – a man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple of things and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts. Again, based on the information I have, that’s the assumption that I made.”
However, the NFL was already suffering the consequences before Pence made an appearance.
With NFL owners warning the players that they won’t play if they continue to protest, this social-justice fad seems to be losing steam. With the league in a precarious financial situation, and losing favorability among fans, it’s no wonder that owners are cracking down on this nebulous behavior.