Pence leaves Colts game: I won't 'dignify' disrespect for the flag

Vice President Mike PenceMichael (Mike) Richard Pence21 Republicans vote against awarding medals to police who defended Capitol on Jan. 6 Virginia couple pleads guilty to misdemeanor charges linked to Capitol riot Juan Williams: GOP preparing the ground to steal an election MORE on Sunday said he left an Indianapolis Colts game after several San Francisco 49ers kneeled during the national anthem because he won't support an event that "disrespects" the country's flag or its soldiers.

"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.


"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."

Pence said everyone is entitled to their own opinions, but added that he doesn'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," Pence said.

The vice president was expected to attend the NFL game Sunday, when the Indianapolis Colts were going to retire former quarterback Peyton Manning's No. 18 jersey, according to the Indy Star.

Earlier Sunday, Pence posted a picture of himself at the game, saying he was looking forward to cheering on the Colts and was there to honor the "great career" of Manning.

During the game, it appeared that approximately 15 members of the San Francisco 49ers kneeled for the national anthem.

President Trump spurred controversy last month after attacking NFL players who kneel during the national anthem.

Since Trump's comments, many players have kneeled when the national anthem plays ahead of their games, while others have locked arms.

Pence reportedly met with Manning before leaving the game.

Retiring GOP Sen. Bob Corker (Tenn.) said Manning would be a "great" addition to the Senate, but the former NFL quarterback said he has "zero interest" in running for office.