The Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers played in front of a smaller crowd after a national anthem protest Sunday. The 49ers are the former team of quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who started the anti-brutality kneeling protest while playing for them, before becoming a free agent in March.
Trump has railed against the form of protest, calling it disrespectful to the flag and to veterans.
After Pence issued his statement, Trump used Twitter to say he had told his vice-president to walk out if any protests occurred during the anthem. According to ESPN, the Colts wore black t-shirts affirming a commitment to "equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue, and opportunity", and stood with arms locked during the anthem, rather than with the traditionally reverent hand-on-heart gesture.
Pence, the former governor of IN, earlier posted a picture of himself and his wife Karen Pence at the Lucas Oil Stadium IN Indianapolis, he IN a Colts hat and shirt and the second lady sporting a team jersey.
The Indianapolis Star reported that no Colts players had knelt during the anthem, but some 49ers players had.
Pence tweeted that he had left the game, saying that he would not "dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem".
The controversy over anthem protests had largely died down when President Trump made a decision to revive it in late September 2017, arguing that the protests were disrespectful to the flag and to the armed forces.
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