The reaction to Mike Pence’s “protest” against protests during Sunday’s Colts / 49er’s game was swift and critical. The choice of opponent, the timing of his exit, the tweets and official statements pointing it out all smelled of something that was more of a PR stunt than any actual outrage according to many online.
As had been pointed out soon after Pence made his announcement online and left the stadium, the stunt by the vice president forced fans to go through extra security and likely cost the team and fans extra so he could likely help the administration continue to make criticism against the NFL and keep that discussion moving. And if you look at the pro-Pence reactions online, you’ll see that it is working despite evidence that it was planned before the VP entered the stadium.
Most of the reactions were not positive, though, and felt that Pence looked foolish. A mixture of jokes, attacks, and outright criticism followed that questioned why Pence would be offended by this and make a “statement” but wouldn’t stand against the many abhorrent things the president has done and said during his tenure, including his apparent support of literal Nazis and his comments following the release of the Access Hollywood tape.
And if it wasn’t clear, there is a tweet that can be used here for comparison’s sake. It was precisely one year ago that headlines about Pence being unable to “defend” the president’s comments in the Access Hollywood video were making the rounds, alongside rumors that he was looking to jump from the GOP ticket. What a difference a year makes.
Also if it wasn’t bad enough, Pence’s decision is now affecting two sports in one day.