Pence Leaves Football Game

Pence Leaves Football Game after Team Protests

At President Trump’s request, Vice President Pence left a football game after players kneeled in protest during the National Anthem on Sunday.

The game took place in Pence’s home state of Indiana, between the San Francisco 49ers. Nearly two dozen of their players kneeled, an action Pence tweeted “disrespects our soldiers, our Flag” and “our national anthem.”

The San Francisco team has been among the most active in the N.F.L. protest, which sparked controversy when, on Sept. 22, Trump, in response to Colin Kaepernick’s protest last year of police officers killing black men, urged owners to “fire” those “sons of bitches” who took a knee.

“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 out National Anthem” Pence tweeted in a full statement.

Trump also took to Twitter to clarify that he asked Pence to leave the game, and his opinion on the issue: “I asked @VP Pence to leave stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country. I am proud of him and @SecondLady Karen.”

Pence posted a picture of him and the Second Lady at the game before leaving, as well as one standing during the anthem with the caption, “We were proud to stand – with all our @Colts – for our soldiers, our flag, and our National Anthem.”

Some criticize the incident as a political stunt due to the fact the 49ers have often been associated with the current racial injustice protest. This latest development helped keep Trump’s clash with the N.F.L. strong.

Representative Adam B. Schiff of California tweeted, “After all the scandals involving unnecessarily expensive travel by cabinet secretaries, how much taxpayer money was wasted on this stunt?”

The VP flew from Las Vegas to Indianapolis, only to fly back to Los Angeles.

Trump’s continuous attention and criticism of the N.F.L. protests have succeeded in sparking divisive discourse on the appropriate setting for “political” demonstrations. Kaepernick has not been signed since he left the San Francisco team back in March – some assert that his unemployment is comparable to blacklisting. While some Americans strongly believe that a football game isn’t the place to voice the injustices the country possesses, others cite the First Amendment as grounds to take a knee during the anthem.

Dr. Judy Nye, an associate professor in the Department of Psychology at Monmouth, asserts that viewing the issue as political is missing the mark.

“I think the thing that’s been the most interesting to me is how I don’t believe it really was a political thing to begin with Kaepernick” Dr. Nye said. “For him the issue was social justice. My impression of him is that he is a very socially conscious person who was exercising his right as a human… and I can understand how a person of color would have a problem with the National Anthem.”

Many feel that the setting is inappropriate to voice concerns. Bobby Wolf, a senior Homeland Security major, agrees. “I agree with their right to protest, I don’t agree with them doing it during the National Anthem. I feel like there is a time and place to do that and that time isn’t during the National Anthem,” he said.

Still others find fault in the player’s method of protest in the way that it is an attack on those who fight for the country, or disrespecting the flag. However, those who are protesting are doing so because black Americans are being attacked by police and disrespected by their country.

“Pence and Trump see it as disrespect for the flag, and disrespect for the military and I just don’t buy that connection” said Dr. Nye.

“The football players are exercising their rights as citizens. They are doing what citizens should, and that is doing their research,” Nye added.

For many, the significance of the protests lies with the backlash, and mimics criticism of other racial injustice protests in American history. “They have the right to have their first amendment off the field” Treasury secretary Steve Mnuchin said in an interview.

“Can you imagine giving that advice to Rosa Parks? ‘Sit down on your couch and protest from home!’” Trevor Noah said on The Daily Show in response to Mnuchin. “Boom! Racism solved.”

Dr. Nye agrees that racism needs to be addressed publicly in order for citizens to become knowledgeable on the subject.“The foundation of democracy is educating the populace, and they are educating the populace. They are raising our awareness and our sensitivity, and I just don’t see that as related to politics, I see that as related to practices that keep our democracy strong,” Nye said.