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Mike Pence leaves NFL Game as Players kneel During Anthem

Washington(October 9, 2017):  President Trump reignited his feud with the N.F.L. by telling Vice President Mike Pence to walk out of a game in his home state of Indiana after nearly two dozen players from the visiting San Francisco 49ers knelt during the playing of the national anthem.

Mr. Pence lavishly documented his early departure in a series of tweets and an official statement issued by his office.

On Twitter, he declared, “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.”

While the vice president portrayed his decision as a gesture of patriotic principle, it had the distinct appearance of a well-planned, if costly, political stunt.

He doubled back from a trip to the West Coast to take a seat in the stands in Indianapolis, where the 49ers, the team most associated with the N.F.L. protest movement against racial injustice were suiting up to play the Colts.

Shortly after Mr. Pence issued his statement, Mr. Trump said on Twitter, “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @Second Lady Karen.”

For Mr. Trump, the vice president’s walkout keeps alive a dispute that has proved popular with his political base, even if he has drawn criticism from the N.F.L. and some of its owners for being divisive and politicizing professional sports.

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