US Vice President Mike Pence walked out of a football game after a large number of players knelt while the national anthem was being played, the media reported.
The incident ook place at the Indianapolis Colts’ game against the San Francisco 49ers on Sunday afternoon, reports The Washington Post.
Pence announced his departure via his Twitter account: “I left today’s Colts game because @POTUS (President Donald Trump) and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem.”
According to NBC News, 23 players of the 49ers knelt during the anthem.
Following the game, 49ers’ Eric Reid called Pence’s visit to the game and early exit a “PR stunt” in comments to reporters, adding “this is what systemic oppression looks like”.
The protest first began with 49er quarterback Colin Kaepernick, who sat through a national anthem in the 2016 pre-season, and later switched to kneeling, which was imitated by other players in the league.
Kaepernick’s contract with the 49ers ended this March, it is unclear the reason behind the termination of his contract.
The National Football League has declined to comment on Pence’s walkout.
Earlier this month, Trump called for NFL owners to suspend or fire players who took a knee for the anthem, calling any who do a “son of a b***h”.