Sunday’s 49ers-Colts game included an unexpected, Animal House-style walkout from the Vice President, who apparently was shocked that a team with at least one player kneeling during the anthem since the issue first emerged in 2016 would have one or more players kneeling during the anthem.
Even if Mike Pence had no idea that one or more players may kneel for the anthem, Pence’s decision not only to leave but also to declare that he had left — and the decision of his boss to trumpet it — undermined what was supposed to be quarterback Peyton Manning’s last great day in Indianapolis. Instead of talking about Peyton’s accomplishments (the video attached to this story does, with insights from Tony Dungy and Rodney Harrison), everyone was talking about Pence’s quit exit from a game that included an anthem demonstration the he knew or should have known was coming.
Peter King of TheMMQB.com put it in plain terms: “[T]he Vice President of the United States slapped Manning and Pence’s beloved Colts in the face. Whether he’s a puppet for the President or his own man, Pence trumped a day that belonged to the greatest football hero the state of Indiana has ever seen, and he did it for political purposes. He stole Manning’s last great day as a Colt. Mike Pence will have to live with himself for that.”
Setting political ideologies aside, it’s hard not to agree with King. A politician chose to co-opt a day that wasn’t meant for him, taking it away from the man for whom it was intended. Thus, as to whichever office Pence may seek in the future, he probably should not expect contributions or support from Indiana’s favorite adopted football son.