Eric Reid Says Mike Pence Leaving Colts Game After Players Knelt Was PR Stunt

Scott Polacek@@ScottPolacekFeatured ColumnistOctober 8, 2017

San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid (35) kneels during the national anthem in front of teammates before an NFL football game between the 49ers and the Carolina Panthers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Sept. 10, 2017. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)
Marcio Jose Sanchez/Associated Press

San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid took issue with Vice President Mike Pence's public manner of leaving Sunday's game between his team and the Indianapolis Colts.

Pence tweeted he left the contest after some players knelt during the national anthem as a means of protesting racial inequality and police brutality. Pence said he "will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem."

Reid called Pence's decision a "PR stunt" after the game, via Jennifer Lee Chan of Niners Nation:

Jennifer Lee Chan @jenniferleechan

Statement by @E_Reid35 regarding the Vice President's brief appearance at the game. "This is what systemic oppression looks like." https://t.co/Aoy2GWons2

Josh Alper of Pro Football Talk transcribed Reid's full statement:

"My honest reaction: ... Does anybody know the last time he's been to a football game? With that being said, he tweeted out a three-year-old photo of him at a Colts game, so with the information I have, the last time he was at a Colts game was three years ago. So this looks like a PR stunt to me. He knew our team has had the most players protest. He knew that we were probably going to do it again. This is what systemic oppression looks like. A man with power comes to the game, tweets a couple of things out and leaves the game with an attempt to thwart our efforts. Based on the information I have, that's the assumption I've made."

Sung Min Kim of Sporting News tweeted the photo Reid mentioned:

Sung Min Kim @sung_minkim

This guy can't even fake things well https://t.co/fuMI54yJj7

Peter Alexander of NBC News noted reporters were told "there may be an early departure from the game."

Considering former 49er Colin Kaepernick started the protests last year, and they have continued this year, it shouldn't come as a surprise that there were more Sunday.

President Donald Trump—who hasn't hesitated to weigh in on the NFL via his Twitter page—tweeted he was "proud" of Pence for leaving.

The league has been in Trump's crosshairs because of the protests. At a rally in Alabama, he said owners should "get that son of a bitch off the field right now" if a player kneels during the anthem.

A number of players and teams responded to the president's comments by either kneeling or linking arms during the national anthem in their next game.