Sunday was supposed to be a day of celebration for the Indianapolis Colts, the Colts fans and family, and the thousands throughout their community. Peyton Manning returned to Indianapolis, where he spent 13 seasons embarking on a career that would lead to notable accomplishments such as most touchdowns (539) and wins (200) in a career, in addition to the numerous awards he’s received and the charitable contributions he’s financed. From sports, celebrities, and philanthropists, Manning means as much to Indianapolis as anyone would to any city. The team gave back on Sunday by retiring Manning’s jersey, celebrating one of the greatest careers in NFL history.
Vice President Mike Pence attended the event, which is not unsurprising. Pence was born in Indiana, attended school in the state, represented Indiana’s 2nd and 6th districts, and became Indiana’s Governor in 2013.
Then the National Anthem played. Pence (presumably) tasked an aide with taking a picture (is the aide disrespecting the anthem?) while being flanked by a veteran in uniform.
— Vice President Pence (@VP) October 8, 2017
Then he walked out.
Indianapolis was hosting the San Francisco 49ers; the team that Colin Kaepernick played for when he began what grew into the player protests (we spoke about that here). According to reports, over 20 players took a knee during the anthem on Sunday.
Immediately, a statement was released:
“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. 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 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.”
You fucked up, Pence.
Rather than staging a theatrical, and obviously premeditated, walk out, Pence could have taken advantage of this opportunity to open a dialogue with those players kneeling (and standing). Address the heart of the protest, provide leadership to unite divided communities, rather than reenforcing division through public stunts and misplaced activism. Take the first step to open lines of communication to dissolve this toxic atmosphere that’s been made more incendiary by this Administration. Stop being the sad-faced puppy that’s obedient to a delusional master who masturbatory enjoys his own reflection in the mirror.
Instead, this administration continues to contribute to this division.
Pence is enacting his own right to protest those who are applying their rights to protest. Let me clarify; the Vice President of the United States literally staged a protest, designed to protest those that are protesting. You leave an area for hope that our President and Vice President of the United States, rather than using the flag and our military as a props to distract the public and media from Puerto Rico, North Korea, the Russian investigation, immigration, health care, and tax reform, would take a leadership role and become a solution, as opposed to… this.
“Pence, you had a chance to be more.”
Pence’s actions is being panned by a great majority (we’re not even talking about philosophical/party leanings). Lloyd and Harry targeted this game specifically, featuring the 49ers (who employed a player that began these protests) with Manning’s return to Indianapolis (high-profile). Statements, tweets, and plans were composed well before Sunday’s anthem. According to many estimates, Pence’s stunt estimates cost taxpayers anywhere from between $197,500, $250,000 and millions. Then again, waste is a precursor for our ineffective government from the left and right.
You hope for more from our government, but in reality we’ve become disenfranchised due to repeated disappointments from the White House and both legislative houses.