The plan had been for Vice President Mike Pence to attend the Indianapolis Colts game at which Peyton Manning’s number is to be retired.
But Pence, the former governor of Indiana, left Lucas Oil Stadium, tweeting early Sunday afternoon that he “and @POTUS (President Donald Trump) will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”
Pence’s response appears to have been triggered by the San Francisco 49ers’ decision to kneel before the 1 p.m. EDT game. Estimates of the numbers of players who took a knee ranged from 15-23. Colin Kaepernick, the former 49er player, of course started the protests to raise awareness of social injustice and racial inequality in the summer of 2016. Members of the Colts reportedly stood for the anthem with arms linked.
Pence’s decision to leave revives the story of players who have been protesting social injustice and racial inequality this season. They have taken a knee. They have linked arms. Some have raised a defiant fist to the sky in the face of presidential directives to the owners of their teams to fire or suspend them. And as their season settles into the critical second quarter, they have sought to pivot toward taking positive action and refining their message.
(c) 2017, The Washington Post · Cindy Boren