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Indianapolis sports columnist: Pence used Colts to stage political stunt

The Hill logo The Hill 10/8/2017 Jacqueline Thomsen
Pence heading to Las Vegas on Saturday after shooting © Provided by The Hill Pence heading to Las Vegas on Saturday after shooting An Indianapolis sports columnist accused Vice President Mike Pence of using a Colts game to stage a political event after Pence walked out of the game over football players kneeling during the national anthem.

Gregg Doyel wrote in a column for the Indianapolis Star that Pence had staged the walk-out as the Colts played against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday and that "Pence knew" players would be kneeling.

"What, you think he didn't know the 49ers would kneel on Sunday? Pence knew. The 49ers are the one franchise, the only franchise, that have had at least one player kneel before every game since Colin Kaepernick was the first to do it in the 2016 preseason," Doyel wrote. "Kaepernick played for the 49ers, of course."

Doyel also noted that reporters following Pence were told to stay in a van outside the game "because Pence wouldn't be there long."

NBC News reporter Vaughn Hillyard, one of the pool reporters with Pence, tweeted that reporters were told to stay in a van outside the game because Pence "may depart the game early."

The columnist also questioned how much in taxpayer money was spent on the political stunt.

"He traveled here with his usual contingent of aides and bodyguards, and he didn't fly standby on Delta. Chew on that for just a minute," Doyel wrote.

Pence tweeted Sunday that he left the game after seeing NFL players kneel during the anthem.

President Trump later tweeted that he had asked Pence to leave the stadium "if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country."

Pence's early departure came after Trump began attacking NFL players who kneel during the anthem last month. He said any player that kneels is a "son of a bitch" and said owners should fire any players that take part in the demonstration.

Trump also called for people to walk out of NFL games if they saw any protesters kneeling.


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