Vice President Mike Pence was formerly the governor of Indiana, so on Sunday he decided to return to Indianapolis and take in the Colts-49ers game. There takes a certain level of dedication to show up to a Colts-49ers game in the first place, considering both teams are a combined 1-7, but for Colts fans that showed up on Sunday they were greeted with heightened security with the VP in the building.
As we’ve seen throughout the entire season, the 49ers players participated in a protest during the national anthem. That act, something that’s happened all year and would come as no surprise to anyone that’s followed football, was enough to upset Pence and cause him to leave the game due to the “disrespect” he felt was being displayed.
Donald Trump took to Twitter later in the day to take credit for Pence leaving after the protests.
As Indianapolis Star columnist Gregg Doyel noted, fans that attended Sunday’s game dealt with added security delays getting into the stadium because of Pence only for him to leave before the game even started.
Doyel also said the protests were from San Francisco and not the Colts.
One has to think Pence knew protests during the anthem were possible and all of this was an opportunity to further the anti-NFL rhetoric that the Trump administration has been pushing ever since the president first spoke out against the protests and called for owners to fire players that kneel for the anthem. So, this was either a premeditated decision from Pence that he would leave if there were any protests, or he somehow genuinely thought the protests that had been going on all year would stop in Week 5.