NFL players back in Trump’s crosshairs as Pence leaves game
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President Trump's feud with the NFL drew attention again on Sunday when Vice President Pence left an Indianapolis Colts game after several San Francisco 49ers knelt during the national anthem.

"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," the vice president said, first in a series of tweets and then in a full statement posted to Twitter.  

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"At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us. 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 our National Anthem. I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem," he said.

 

President Trump in turn tweeted that he had asked Pence and his wife, Karen, to leave the stadium if any players knelt and said he was proud of them 

 

The tweets from Pence and Trump left many wondering whether Pence had planned the walkout as a way to keep the fire stoked on the controversy. The vice president had traveled to Indianapolis from Las Vegas, and was set to travel back to the West Coast after the game.

The controversy over players kneeling during the national anthem is also closely associated with the 49ers, the visiting team at the game Pence attended. 

Former 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick began kneeling during the anthem last year to protest police actions toward African-Americans and other social issues. 

Kaepernick no longer plays for the 49ers and has been unable to secure a job in the NFL this year, a fact many say is because of his protests.

Trump ignited the feud last month during a campaign rally in Alabama, in which he said players who kneel during the anthem should be fired. 

"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now, out, he's fired. He's fired,' " Trump said, adding that the league should implement a rule that bans players from kneeling during the anthem. 

The controversy had started to settle, however, over the last week.