Mike Pence walks out of NFL game after players kneel during national anthem, Donald Trump takes credit on Twitter

US vice-president Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game when some players kneeled for the national anthem, stoking controversy over the gesture.

AFP October 09, 2017 06:41:58 IST
Mike Pence walks out of NFL game after players kneel during national anthem, Donald Trump takes credit on Twitter

Washington: US vice-president Mike Pence walked out of an Indianapolis Colts game when some players kneeled for the national anthem, stoking controversy over the gesture.

In the third NFL weekend since President Donald Trump said league owners should fire players who kneel during pre-game playings of the US national anthem, Pence tweeted that he departed after seeing players kneel during "The Star-Spangled Banner".

While Colts players stood arm-in-arm at their home game in Indianapolis, more than 20 of the 49ers players knelt during the song as they have for weeks, a move that should have been little shock to Pence, an Indiana native who tweeted his photo in Colts cap and shirt before the game.

Trump took credit for the departure of Pence and his wife from the stadium in a later tweet:

As White House criticism of of the gesture continued yesterday, CBS walked back its report that Colin Kaepernick, the player who first employed it last year, had said he would stand for the anthem if he was signed by a new team.

Reporter Jason La Canfora said he had not, in fact, discussed the matter with Kaepernick in his off-camera interview. "Colin would have to address any future demonstrations," La Canfora tweeted. "I didn't ask him if he would sit or stand. Our chat primarily about his will to play."

Kaepernick, who said last year he hoped to spark a discussion about racism when he opted not to stand for the anthem, re-tweeted La Canfora's tweets rolling back the story. Kaepernick added another telling tweet quoting Winston Churchill: "A lie gets halfway around the world before the truth has a chance to get its pants on."

Kaepernick was dropped by the 49ers in March and many feel his failure to find a new team is related to his controversial protest.

Trump angered NFL stars, team owners and league officials last month in describing players who refused to stand for the anthem as "sons of bitches".

His comments sparked a wave of demonstrations around the league, with many players and some team owners locking arms in a sign of unity.

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