49ers safety Eric Reid spoke with the media after Sunday’s loss to the Colts. Reid said he believes Vice President Mike Pence’s decision to come to the game at Lucas Oil Stadium and then leave immediately after the national anthem was a “PR stunt.”
He asked reporters if they knew when the last time Pence attended a football game.
No one responded.
“With the information I have, the last time he’s been to a Colts game was three years ago,” Reid said. “So this looks like a PR stunt to me.”
Colt’s legendary quarterback Peyton Manning had his number retired today and that’s reportedly why Pence was planning to attend. It was meant to be an acknowledgment of Manning’s contributions to Pence’s home state. Pence was wearing a Manning jersey.
President Trump said in a tweet that he asked “Pence to leave the stadium if any players kneeled, disrespecting our country.”
And Reid suggests that Pence knew the 49ers had the most players protesting and that chances were high that they would protest this game. The statement implies that Pence was strategic in planning which game he would attend.
A member from the 49ers has taken a knee for every game so far this season. And the volume of protests – for the 49ers and throughout the league – have only intensified since Trump made comments last month suggesting that players who kneel should lose their job.
Pence wrote in a tweet that he “will always stand for our Flag and our National Anthem” and attached a statement for why he left.
“This is what systemic oppression looks like,” Reid said. “A man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple things out and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts.”
Over 20 49ers took a knee during the anthem, including Reid, who joined Colin Kaepernick last year and has continued to demonstrate each week.