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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.
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.— Vice President Pence (@VP) October 8, 2017
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.
Have to imagine this was planned in advance. Pence isn't dumb and knew players would be kneeling https://t.co/v01MmfT46s— andrew kaczynski (@KFILE) October 8, 2017
49ers have been protesting for over a year. This was calculated. https://t.co/KlXsONVATL— Melissa Jacobs (@thefootballgirl) October 8, 2017
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.
Chris Tognotti is a frequent contributor for the Daily Dot. He’s a news and current events writer based out of Berkeley, California, and a co-host of the podcast Now We Know. While he specializes in domestic politics and opinion writing, he’s also savvy on sports, video games, and film.