Vice President Mike Pence left Sunday’s 49ers-Colts game at Lucas Oil Stadium in Indianapolis because players on both teams knelt during the national anthem.
More than 20 players from the Niners took a knee while also having their hands over their hearts. Other teammates stood behind the kneeling players.
The Indianapolis players wore black T-shirts bearing the words “We Will” on the front and "Stand for equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue, opportunity" on the back. Those players locked arms during the anthem.
The question was posed then quickly answered as to why Pence left the game prematurely. He later tweeted that he stands with the president and doesn’t think “it's too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem.”
Donald Trump, of course, reacted to Pence's petty exit and said he's proud of his vice president and disappointed by those who did kneel.
San Francisco safety Eric Reid said he believed Pence’s short appearance was premeditated and knew the players were going to kneel, prompting his departure.
"First of all, does anyone know the last time he's been to a football game?" Reid said after the game, according to ESPN. "OK, with that being said, he tweeted out a 3-year-old photo of him at a Colts game. So with the information that I have, the last time he's been to a football game is three years ago. So this looks like a PR stunt to me.
"He knew our team has had the most players protest. He knew that we were probably going to do it again. This is what systemic oppression looks like. A man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple things out and leaves the game in an attempt to thwart our efforts. Based on the information I have, that's the assumption I made."
Social media was also outraged and pointed out that Pence’s little “stunt” cost taxpayers over $250,000 when you add the military flight he took with security. See their reaction below.
Pence's stunt likely cost more than $250,000 at minimum. https://t.co/Y9E9LqvhPG— Daniel Dale (@ddale8) October 8, 2017
He went to the game intending to walk out. A leader would have gone down to the locker room after the game intending to have a conversation. https://t.co/guHuPEQfg5— Jason Kander (@JasonKander) October 8, 2017
No matter how much Mike Pence and others try to deliberately change the narrative, the NFL protests are STILL about fighting white supremacy— Tariq Nasheed (@tariqnasheed) October 8, 2017
Just so we’re clear: Mike Pence tweeted a 3yr old photo & showed up to an NFL game knowing he’d leave to make his base angry at blck players https://t.co/hwtqiSpaw3— Clint Smith (@ClintSmithIII) October 8, 2017
It cost Americans $1,250,000 for Mike Pence to protest kneeling & for Tom Price to fly in private jets— Tony Posnanski (@tonyposnanski) October 8, 2017
Kaepernick donated 1mil to charity
Do you know what a real leader would do at the Colts game?— Red T Raccoon (@RedTRaccoon) October 8, 2017
He would have spoken with these men & heard their concerns
Mike Pence just left pic.twitter.com/1s4kONxuz4
NFL players kneel during national anthem, Mike Pence walks out of game in protest.— Michael Skolnik (@MichaelSkolnik) October 8, 2017
The KKK march in Charlottesville, the @VP says NOTHING.