Vice President Mike Pence made headlines Sunday when he walked out of an NFL game after the players protested the national anthem. President Donald Trump has made a very clear point over the last few weeks that he believes players should stand for the anthem.
Pence attended the Indianapolis Colts versus the San Francisco 49ers game in Indianapolis, with direction from Trump to walk out if players protested:
— Donald J. Trump (@realDonaldTrump) October 8, 2017
That is exactly what happened.
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.
— Vice President Pence (@VP) October 8, 2017
Pence released this statement on the walkout:
I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem. At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us. While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don’t think it’s too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem. I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem.
In response, some players called it a “PR stunt.” the NFL Players’ Association, which represents all NFL players, released a statement soon after Pence’s protest.
The statement lauded the NFL union before saying that players have “pride” in the conversations the protests have brought. The NFL players then stated that they “cannot allow our rights to become subservient” to others’ opinions, a clear jab at the Trump administration.
Here is the full quote, according to the NFL Player Association website:
NFL players are union members and part of the labor movement that has woven the fabric of America for generations. Our men and their families are also conscientious Americans who continue to be forces for good through our communities and some have decided to use their platform to peacefully raise awareness to issues that deserve attention.
It is a source of enormous pride that some of the best conversations about these issues have taken place in our locker rooms in a respectful, civil and thoughtful way that should serve as a model for how all of us can communicate with each other.
We should not stifle these discussions and cannot allow our rights to become subservient to the very opinions our Constitution protects. That is what makes us the land of the free and home of the brave.