Vice President Mike Pence covers his heart along with his wife, Karen, right, during the national anthem as the Indianapolis Colts play host the San Francisco 49ers at Lucas Oil Stadium on Sunday in Indianapolis. (Sam Riche/TNS)

Vice President Pence makes a quick exit after 49ers kneel for anthem

INDIANAPOLIS — Vice President Mike Pence, the former Governor of Indiana, was at Lucas Oil Stadium as Sunday’s game began, but he didn’t last long.

Pence departed as the game was beginning after more than 20 members of the 49ers knelt during the national anthem. That’s been a major gripe for President Donald Trump in recent weeks, and Pence followed his boss’s lead.

“I left today’s Colts game because (at)POTUS and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence wrote on Twitter.

A few minutes later, he added, “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.”

Last week the 49ers organized a team-wide gesture, one in which 30 players knelt during the anthem, one hand over their hearts, while teammates stood behind them with one hand on the kneeling players’ shoulders and the other over their hearts.

Sunday’s stance appeared less organized, but at least 20 players took a knee while a few others were behind them with hands on their shoulders. All of the Colts players appeared to stand during the anthem.

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