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Vice President Mike Pence And Wife Leave Colts Game After Players Kneel
Updated October 9, 2017 7:09 AM
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(INDIANAPOLIS) - Vice President Mike Pence decided to leave the Indianapolis Colts game Sunday because about two dozen 49ers players knelt during the national anthem.

In a tweet, the former Indiana governor said "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." Minutes after that tweet, his office released a full statement:

"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."

Shortly after Pence released a statement, President Donald Trump tweeted saying that he asked Pence to leave the stadium if any players knelt during the anthem.

Donald J. Trump @realDonaldTrump

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

For 49ers Player Eric Reid, the first to join Colin Kaepernick in taking a knee, this tweet, plus Pence's lack of attendance at other Colts games, made him feel the decision to leave was a publicity move.

"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, " Reid told Fox News.

But a senior administration official says although Pence was prepared to leave, he was "hopeful" all players would stand. While all Colts players did, the 49ers didn't.

It was announced Friday that Pence would attend the game with the second lady. The game was special, because Peyton Manning's jersey was retired at halftime and he was inducted into the team's Ring of Honor.

Before the game, Pence tweeted that he was looking forward to honoring "the great career of #18 Peyton Manning."

Vice President Pence @VP

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

Pence was not there for the jersey retirement during halftime, but his officials say he did meet with Manning before the game. They declined to share the details of that conversation.

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