- The Washington Times - Sunday, October 8, 2017

President Trump said he was “proud” of Vice President Mike Pence for walking out of Sunday’s NFL game in Indianapolis game after an estimated 23 San Francisco players took a knee during the national anthem.

“I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen,” said Mr. Trump in a tweet.

The president’s shout-out came shortly after Mr. Pence said on Twitter that he left the game because “@POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”

Local media reports said that 23 San Francisco players knelt in protest instead of standing for “The Star-Spangled Banner,” which was fewer than the 30 49ers who refused to stand during last weekend’s game.

Forty-niners’ safety Eric Reid called Mr. Pence’s action “a PR stunt” and called it an example of “systemic oppression.”

SEE ALSO: Pence’s walkout over take-a-knee protest comes as NFL struggles with ratings, fan outrage

“First of all, does anybody know the last time he [Mr. Pence] went to a football game? With that being said, he tweeted out a three-year old photo from the Colts game,” Mr. Reid said. “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.”

Mr. Reid said of the vice president, “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 things out 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.”

No Colts players sat or knelt during the national anthem, according to the Indianapolis Star.

Mr. Pence, the former Indiana governor, had attended the game to see former Colts quarterback Peyton Manning inducted into the Ring of Honor and his #18 jersey retired at Lucas Oil Stadium.

On social media, some people criticized Mr. Pence for the cost of what they viewed as a stunt, flying on Air Force Two from Nevada to Indiana for the game, and then flying west again to California Sunday night for a political fundraiser.

“Can’t accuse @VP of a cheap political stunt,” tweeted former Clinton adviser and CNN contributor Paul Begala. “This was a remarkably expensive political stunt.”

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