October 9, 2017


Vice President Mike Pence Upstages Peyton Manning With Orchestrated Anthem Walkout (Peter King October 08, 2017, MMQB)

When Peyton Manning was drafted by the Colts in 1998, Mike Pence--born in Indiana, raised in Indiana, college-educated in Indiana--was a conservative talk-show host and avowed Colts fan. When Pence was elected to Congress in 2000, he moved away from Indiana for the first time, but continued to root hard for the Colts in the Manning glory years. When Manning left and after Pence was elected governor in 2012, Pence continued to root for Manning when he played the Patriots, presumably because of the rivalry between the Colts and Patriots; Pence even tweeted his best wishes to Manning before a Denver-New England game several years ago.

So it surprised no one when Vice President Pence announced last week he would be attending the ceremony in Indianapolis on Sunday when Manning's number would be retired at halftime of the Colts-49ers game. Pence would be in Las Vegas on Saturday to honor the victims of the murderous gun rampage there, and he would be moving on to California for a vice presidential appearance Monday, but he would fly on Air Force 2 with his traveling party for the 1,600-mile trip back to central Indiana to pay tribute to Manning at his halftime ceremony.

With Pence's trip, of course, there would be a traveling press pool of about 20 and a traveling Secret Service detail of approximately 10 with Pence and about 20 more doing advance work to sweep Lucas Oil Stadium and the Indianapolis hotel where the party would stay Saturday night and Sunday morning. There would be an ambulance in front of his motorcade and there would be a trauma team on alert at a local hospital. There certainly would be other manpower needs associated with a vice presidential trip at a significant cost to U.S. taxpayers.

Meanwhile, at some point during the weekend, President Donald Trump and Pence spoke, and Trump told Pence--he admitted as such on Twitter--that if there was a demonstration with players kneeling during the national anthem Sunday, Pence was to leave the stadium.

If there was one certain thing at the 49ers-Colts game, it was that some 49ers would protest during the anthem. This is the only team since the start of the 2016 season that had one or more players either sit or kneel for every game--preseason and regular season. There was absolutely no chance that this game would go off with 45 Colts standing on their side of the field and 45 members of the Niners standing on their side of the field. For at least the previous 26 games the 49ers played, first with Colin Kaepernick sitting and then kneeling, and this year with safety Eric Reid leading players in some form of demonstration, the team did something during the anthem. Last week in Arizona, about 30 players kneeled.

So why did Pence show up? This was a fait accompli--that some Niners would kneel, that Pence would walk out, and that it would turn into the story of the day in the NFL.

The vp could have, at least, pretended to have a spine, instead of acting like Beauregard.

Posted by at October 9, 2017 5:15 AM