Trump NFL row: Mike Pence walks out of game after players kneel

Vice President Mike Pence leaves Colts game following anthem protest

By walking out over the kneeling, Pence hasn't just stirred the stoked the flames of the controversy, it has also kicked up a new dust storm: criticism over the cost of the vice president's protest of the protest.

The controversial practice of taking a knee was started by former-San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who has yet to be signed to a new team after his contract with the 49ers expired previous year.

Manning will become the first Indianapolis-era player in Colts history to have his number retired and will also be inducted into the team's Ring of Honor.

More than 20 players on the 49ers kneeled during the anthem with their hands over their hearts, ESPN reported.

Outraged by this attitude, Mike Pence, who wore a sweater and a cap, the Colts, left the Lucas Oil Stadium without waiting for the end of the meeting.

Pence, who was attending the match between San Francisco 49ers and his home team, the Indianapolis Colts tweeted upon his exit that he "will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our flag and our national anthem". Pence said: "I don't think it's too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem".

Donald Trump Jr., the President's eldest son, tweeted his support for Pence's decision. "I asked the vice-president Pence to leave the stage if players put a knee on the ground [during the national anthem], a lack of respect for our country", he wrote on his Twitter account.

President Donald Trump tweeted that he had asked Mr Pence to leave if players kneeled and said he was "proud of him".

However, that prompted National Football League commissioner Roger Goodell to defend the players' right to express themselves, while several team owners also issued statements supporting their players. He predicted that if the league didn't change position in relation to these events, during the anthem, she would see his popularity collapse.

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 USA flag and military veterans.

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