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Mike Pence walks out on NFL game after players protested during anthem

NFL stadiums aren't a safe space for Mike Pence, apparently.


Chris Tognotti


Posted on Oct 8, 2017   Updated on May 22, 2021, 3:00 pm CDT

Vice President Mike Pence walked out of an NFL game between the San Francisco 49ers and Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, tweeting afterward that he refused to watch the game after some players chose to kneel during the national anthem.

This is a continuation of President Donald Trump’s long-running series of attacks on NFL players who’ve chosen to protest during the anthem. Trump called such players “son of a bitch,” and he called for them to be fired during a rally in Alabama last month.

Taken in full, Pence stated on Twitter that he stood with Trump in opposing the NFL protests and refused to even watch a game in which any of the players decided to kneel. It’s worth noting that it’s not a casual or last-minute thing for a president or a vice president to attend an NFL game, given the highly public setting and the security concerns that come with those jobs.


As such, in the event that Pence could anticipate what was going to happen and knew he was going to walk out on the game if somebody took a knee―which seems likely, given how mainstream and widespread the protests have become―this whole ordeal amounted to little more than pointlessly burning up some taxpayer money. 

Update 12:56pm CT: Trump has now taken credit for the stunt.

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*First Published: Oct 8, 2017, 1:06 pm CDT