Vice President Mike Pence made waves during the 2017 NFL season for leaving a game early because players demonstrated their opposition to racial injustice and police brutality during the national anthem.
He received the tickets to that game, as well as tickets to Super Bowl 52, as a gift.
According to Megan R. Wilson of The Hill, Pence's most recent personal financial disclosure form revealed he received NFL tickets from oil magnate Forrest Lucas—who founded Lucas Oil, the company with naming rights for the Indianapolis Colts' stadium—and Super Bowl tickets from Houston Texans owner Bob McNair.
The Super Bowl tickets were valued at $15,000, while the tickets he received from Lucas for the October game between the Colts and San Francisco 49ers which he left were valued at $745. Pence left the contest after players knelt during the national anthem as a means of protesting injustice in the United States.
"The gifts do not violate ethics rules, as most gifts to the vice president are not subject to the federal gift ban," Wilson wrote.
Rene Marsh of CNN estimated the cost of Pence attending the game between the Colts and 49ers for less than an hour to be $242,500, in part because he diverted a trip from the West Coast to be in attendance.
Then-San Francisco safety Eric Reid, who was one of multiple players to kneel during the anthem, called the ordeal a "PR stunt," via Jennifer Lee Chan of Niners Nation. He brought up how Pence tweeted out a three-year-old photo of himself and tried to play it off as a picture from that game.
Writer Sung Min Kim tweeted out the photo Reid mentioned:
McNair's gift is also notable considering his connection to the controversy surrounding players protesting that dominated headlines during the 2017 campaign.
Seth Wickersham and Don Van Natta Jr. of ESPN.com described McNair as a "multimillion-dollar Trump campaign contributor," and they shared a comment the Texans owner made regarding players kneeling during the anthem.
"We can't have the inmates running the prison," McNair said.
Citing colleague Sarah Barshop, ESPN's Adam Schefter reported Texans players wanted to walk out at an ensuing practice following McNair's controversial comment.