VP Mike Pence leaves National Football League game after anthem protest

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U.S. Vice President Mike Pence walked out of a National Football League game on Sunday in his home state of in after some players knelt during the national anthem, a form of demonstration that began a year ago as a symbolic protest about police violence against racial minorities.

Last week approximately 30 players from the 49ers kneeled in their first game since Trump called for players who protest to be fired.

Pence, the former IN governor, had attended the game to watch a ceremony honouring former Colts great Peyton Manning scheduled for half-time, but chose to leave after the anthems.

Before Sunday's game, at least 23 49eres players took a knee, while the Colts linked arms.

Pence was attending a game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers.

President Trump wrote that he requested Pence leave if any players kneeled.

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However, after members of the San Francisco 49ers appeared to take a knee during the national anthem, in part of an ongoing protest by NFL players against racism, the vice president left the stadium.

The White House also issued a statement from Pence, in which he says Americans should rally around the flag.

Critics of players kneeling at the pre-game playing of the national anthem, including Trump, object to any protest, regardless of its merits, during a ceremony meant to honor the US flag and military veterans.

President Donald Trump later tweeted: "I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country".

After leaving the game, Pence posted a photo of himself and his wife standing for the anthem at the game on Sunday. They were told by a staffer to the vice president that "there may be an early departure from the game", but were not given any more information.

The wave of protest has been condemned by the United States right wing and President Trump, who last month urged fans to boycott National Football League games until "players stop disrespecting our flag & country".

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