VP Pence pulls NFL Political Stunt at Taxpayer Expense

TeleSur | – –

“I left today’s Colts game because I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence said.

Members of the National Football League who have collectively lodged symbolic protests against police brutality and racism during the U.S. national anthem by “taking a knee” faced a new counterprotester in Indiana: U.S. Vice President Mike Pence.

Pence was attending a game between the Indianapolis Colts and the San Francisco 49ers. According to the former Indiana governor, he had also attended the game to watch Peyton Manning’s jersey retirement ceremony.

During the game, Pence tweeted a photo of he and his wife smiling as they watched a football game.

The photo, however, proved to be identical to one he tweeted on November 23, 2014, before a Colts game against the Jacksonville Jaguars, according to the Indy Star

Some players from the 49ers kneeled during the Star Spangled Banner, while some Colts wore black T-shirts with the words “We Will” on the front and “Stand for equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue, opportunity” on the back.

The players stood with their arms locked during the anthem, according to media reports.

“I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence said in a statement issued by the White House.

President Donald Trump has taken to Twitter to blast players taking part in the protests, controversially telling NFL team owners that they should ban any player who kneels during the anthem and “Get that son of a bitch off the field.” He said in a tweet on Sunday that he asked Pence to leave the stadium “if any player kneeled, disrespecting our country.” He said he was proud of Pence and his wife, Karen.

Pence, who has gone out of his way to demonstrate loyalty to Trump amid signs of discord within the White House, said in his statement it was important to rally around the flag and things that unite the country.

“I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem,” Pence said.

Critics of players kneeling at the pre-game playing of the national anthem object to any protest, regardless of its merits, during the anthem.

“It seems pretty clear what Trump and the former governor of Indiana’s plan here was,” Frank Schwab of the NFL Shutdown Corner blog said. “The national anthem protests have been a storyline all season. So for the duo to act shocked to see a protest when Pence showed up to a game — at great taxpayer expense, no less — seems pretty disingenuous.”

Indeed, Pence was scheduled to walk out of the game in order to catch a flight to attend a political fundraiser in Los Angeles, it was later revealed.

“Attacking NFL players for peaceably protesting seems to be an easy way for President Donald Trump and his administration to rally support,” Schwab continued. “It’s incredibly disingenuous to make this a story of the players being anti-military, because at no point in any protest have any players ever said they were against the military.”

The right to participate in such a protest is protected by the U.S. Constitution’s First Amendment. The NFL declined to comment, said spokesman Brian McCarthy.

Trump’s opposition to the protest has galvanized national opinion on the issue.

In a letter posted to Facebook, former NASA astronaut and NFL player Leland Melvin called the President’s statements “boorish and disgusting.”

“I really think that, when the announcer in the stadium says, ‘Rise to honor our veterans,’ by no means is (Colin) Kaepernick, or anyone taking a knee, in any way wanting to dishonor the service of police officers, or people who are fighting in our wars,” Melvin told NPR. “But it’s an injustice that’s happening in our streets, it’s an inequality, it’s things that have been stemmed from slavery and the Constitution and the Declaration of Independence, all of these foundational documents that define our democracy. That’s what matters.”

Some football fans have recently shouted ethnic slurs at players including the “N-word,” as was the case Monday before Washington Redskins wide receiver Terrelle Pryor was caught on video flipping his middle finger and shouting in anger at the football stands as he left a Kansas City game.

The 28-year-old Pryor said he was initially put off by a fan calling him the “N-word” during the Redskins’ 29-20 loss. He insisted on Instagram that he was called the racial slur “several times to the point where an NFL employee had to step to me and stand by me the whole game from second quarter on is the exact reason why guys are kneeling during the anthem.”

Pryor, for the record, stood for the national anthem.

Via TeleSur

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Related video added by Juan Cole:

Arirang News: “Trump claims to have told Pence to walk out of NFL game”

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12 Responses

  1. Andrew Poultridge

    more importantly at Dolt 45’s direction. So there is no great principle of respecting the flag, it’s all about licking the boot.

  2. Pompous RACIST Christian Nationalists require resorting to divisive stunts to fire up their base to hate.

    Apparently, the First Amendment is NOT in VP Pence’s Holy Bible.

  3. Pence errs in believing he could dignify anything. His expensive appearance on the public’s dollar demonstrates only his Trump poodle status. With apologies to poodles.

  4. Apparently Trump thinks Black people must honor the flags of both the United States and Confederate States. And White people who wave the Confederate flag don’t dishonor the flag it was meant to expunge from Norfolk to El Paso.

    Huh.

  5. Meanwhile, must I be the first to point out the incredibly sinister implication of Pence and every other right-winger on this matter who morphs a protest against police into a protest against soldiers?

    Is there a difference anymore? Are the police the special military used to wage war on Blacks and Latinos? Like the special army the British used to wage war against the Irish, the Black and Tans, named for combining Police and Army uniforms?

    • I think the posture taken by the police in Charlottesville — a progressive town if one exists in the state of Virginia — suggests that things do not look hopeful. They did nothing while the city was terrorized by brown shirts. We all saw it.

      I live in a similar town (Champaign, IL), and I have never seen a black patrolman in the almost 10 years I’ve been living here, even though about 20% of the city is African-American. There’s a history, too, but the last incident when a black youth was shot while minding his own business happened just before people got wise to the fact that their cell phones were a tool which could expose injustice to the whole world, or we might have become national news. Instead, the protests stayed local. I’m pretty sure that when the time comes, the vast majority of police will not be our friends. Serious and widespread recruitment and training problems for a long, long time.

      We have a better shot with the military, where the top brass realized that regardless of their personal prejudices, they better adopt a zero tolerance policy toward racism or their army in Vietnam was going to collapse. And soldiers don’t have unions. So now the ranks — and even the officer corps — are well-represented by African-Americans and Hispanics who are trained and efficient killers, so we won’t be helpless.

      • However, the nature of modern warfare (and costs) have delivered most of America’s combat action to the Special Forces. Their demographics are just slightly less White than the Confederate Army, and their veterans are heavily recruited by monsters like Erik Prince for the private mercenary armies that lurk on our soil, already past the Rubicon.

        The rest of the Army is that part that has most spectacularly failed to make its hypercomplex machinery work in foreign wars once they bogged down into insurgency. If soldiers of color remain loyal to democracy after some sort of Franco-style putsch, they will bring only bits and pieces of a functional military with them to our defense.

        • from my perspective as an SF vet,
          SF are losing in Iraq and A’stan just as bad as regular infantrymen.
          SF aren’t even trying to win in Syria. The idea is to facilitate Kurds taking over parts of the country; we are not there to fight ISIS.

        • It will ultimately come down to citizen-soldiers on both sides in any event, just like our Founding Fathers intended.

    • Pence is a Seven Mountains Dominionist, an extreme right-wing “Christian” Nationalist movement tacitly being fed into the wide-screen evangelical churches which endeavor to control our country under the authority of those who interpret scriptures to suit their needs.

      Basically, the American TALIBAN! And Pence is not alone.

  6. Quoting Pence – “I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence said in a statement issued by the White House after his stunt.

    Fact – Members of the NFL have been collectively engaging in open protest against police brutality and racism during the U.S. national anthem by “taking a knee”, a fact repeatedly stated and fully protected by the First Amendment.

    Efforts to distort the facts by blatant maladministration media manipulation and to hold players protesting up to scorn by tacitly implying treason by persons-of-color is intended to racially DIVIDE our nation and no other reason.

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