US Vice President Mike Pence has walked out of a National Football League game after several players knelt during the national anthem.
Pence had been attending a game with his wife Karen in his home state of Indiana between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers.
Refusing to stand of the anthem has become a form of protest against racial injustice. San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick stirred controversy when he knelt for the anthem in protest against police brutality last year.
Critics have questioned whether Pence had only gone to the game to make a production of leaving.
Later Pence used social media to explain his actions.
“I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”
I stand with
POTUS</a> Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem. <a href="https://t.co/B0zP5M41MQ">pic.twitter.com/B0zP5M41MQ</a></p>— Vice President Pence (VP) October 8, 2017
His boss President Donald Trump immediately tweeted saying he had asked Pence to leave stadium if any players knelt, disrespecting our country and that he was proud of him.
San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick stirred controversy when he knelt for the anthem in protest against police brutality last year.
Trump’s continued criticism of the kneeling protests and calls for the NFL to ban those who take part appear to have encouraged players.
More and more have been “ taking a knee” as its called at big sporting events.