Screengrab: Twitter, @VP

The Facts —

  • On 8 October, President Trump tweeted:

  • On 9 October, President Donald Trump tweeted:

  • Vice President Mike Pence left the Indiana Colts football game against the San Francisco 49ers on 8 October after some players on the field knelt during the national anthem.
    • 20 members of the San Francisco 49ers knelt during the Star-Spangled Banner. No members of the Indiana Colts knelt during the song.

The Context —

  • Addressing his decision to leave the game, Vice President Pence tweeted:

  • The kneeling trend began last year when San Francisco 49er Colin Kaepernick kneeled during the national anthem during preseason games in August 2016.
    • Regarding his kneeling, Kaepernick told NFL media in an interview:

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color.”

RELATED: Here’s How Each NFL Team Has Responded to National Anthem Protests

  • On 22 September, President Trump gave a speech in support of Luther Strange’s race for Senator in Alabama. During his speech, he mentioned the fact that NFL players had knelt during the national anthem in the past. Trump said:

“Wouldn’t you love to see one of these NFL owners when somebody disrespects our flag say ‘Get that son of a bitch off the field right now – out. He’s fired. He’s fired!”

Supporters of Pence’s Reaction —

  • Donald Trump Jr. tweeted:

  • Sean Hannity tweeted:

Critics of Pence’s Reaction —

  • Eric Reid, a player for the 49ers, said:

“So with the information that I have, the last time he’s been to a Colts game is 3 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 things out and leaves the game in an attempt to thwart our efforts.”

  • Mike Freeman, NFL columnist, tweeted:

Other Stakeholders —

  • In response to Trump’s speech on 22 September, Terry Bradshaw, co-host of Fox NFL Sunday, said:

“I’m going to say something about the most powerful man in the greatest country in the world, but probably like a lot of you, I was somewhat surprised that the President – the President of the United States – came out attacking NFL players for them exercising the freedom of speech. While I don’t condone the protest during our national anthem, this is America. If our country stands for anything, folks, it’s freedom. People died for that freedom. I’m not sure if our president understands those rights – that every American has the right to speak out and also to protest.”

Megan Evershed contributed to this report.

The Whim News Team

The Whim News Desk

We'd rather be second and accurate than be first and wrong. The Whim News Desk is a dedicated team of researchers and investigators committed to presenting the news without bias. Follow us @TheWhimOnline for daily news coverage without the spin!

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