Vice President Pence Leaves Colts Game Early After Protest During National Anthem

INDIANAPOLIS (CBSNewYork/AP) — Vice President Mike Pence left the 49ers-Colts game before kickoff Sunday, after about a dozen San Francisco players took a knee during the national anthem.

The former Indiana governor flew in so he could watch Peyton Manning’s jersey retirement ceremony on Sunday. But Pence didn’t stick around long.

Pence said on Twitter: “I left today’s Colts game because (at)POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”

The White House also issued a statement from Pence, in which he says Americans should rally around the flag. Pence said: “I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem.”

President Trump took to Twitter to praise his second-in-command, claiming he asked Pence to leave should any players kneel.

Trump said he was “proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.”

Pence is a noted sports fan and it’s second major event he’s attended in his home state since taking office in January. He also attended May’s Indianapolis 500, a family tradition.

Manning will become the first Indianapolis-era player in Colts history to have his number retired and will also be inducted into the team’s Ring of Honor.

Pence flew in on Saturday after a statue of Manning was unveiled, an event attended by a number of luminaries including NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell.

Instead, Pence spent most of Saturday honoring victims of the Las Vegas shooting before returning to his home state.

(© Copyright 2017 CBS Broadcasting Inc. All Rights Reserved. The Associated Press contributed to this report.)

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