Vice President Mike Pence briefly stopped by the Colts game on Sunday, but left when 23 members of the 49ers took a knee during the national anthem.
Pence said, via Twitter, that he left because he will not “dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.” Many pointed out in the wake of that announcement that Pence probably shouldn’t have bothered going to the game in the first place since the 49ers have regularly had many players taking a knee during the anthem and some suggested that the whole thing was planned — Peter Alexander of NBC News reports that reporters were told to remain in the van because there could be an “early departure” — given the likelihood that 49ers players would take a knee.
49ers safety Eric Reid, who began kneeling alongside Colin Kaepernick more than a year ago, subscribes to that theory.
“My honest reaction … Does anybody know the last time he’s been to a football game?” Reid said, via a video from Jennifer Lee Chan of Niners Nation. “With that being said, he tweeted out a three-year old photo of him at a Colts game so with the information I have the last time he was at a Colts game was 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 of things out and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts. Based on the information I have, that’s the assumption I’ve made.”
The Vice President, who flew from Las Vegas to Indianapolis before the game, is reportedly headed to California on Sunday.