Vice President Pence says walking out of Colts game was ‘the right thing to do’

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INDIANAPOLIS, Ind.-- Monday night, Indianapolis Colts players stood and locked arms during the national anthem before their loss to the Tennessee Titans.

Earlier this month, Vice President Mike Pence left a Colts game after several players took a knee during the anthem. Many critics called it a "political stunt" and questioned the use of taxpayer money, but the White House stood its ground on the matter.

WIBC's Tony Katz was in Washington Tuesday to talk to President Trump and Vice President Pence, alongside a number of other conservative radio talk show hosts, and asked Pence to speak about his choice to walk out and respond to the criticism.

When asked if it was a publicity stunt, Pence responded, "You know we had had plans for a long time to attend that game. Karen and I were looking very much forward to it, but frankly when we saw that so many players took a knee on the sideline we thought it was the right thing to do to leave."

The vice president did say he and President Trump had spoken about the situation before he came to Indy.

"The president and I had talked about It beforehand, but look, everybody is entitled to their opinion but the president and I believe it’s not too much to ask for all players to respect our soldiers, respect our flag, respect our national anthem, and that’s why we left," he said.

NFL owners met with the players' union Tuesday to discuss the ongoing protests. VP Pence said he hopes they find a way to let the players' voices be heard while also showing respect.

"My hope is that as the owners meet this week- as the players and the owners give consideration to this moment- that they’ll heed the voice not only of the president and myself but of the American people that would really like to see the NFL once again take that moment. Let their voices be heard on the issues they care about, but let’s respect our soldiers, respect our flag; let’s respect our national anthem and let’s make them once again a moment of national unity."

An NFL provided this statement after the meeting:

Commissioner Roger Goodell told club executives last week in a memo obtained by The Associated Press that the anthem issue is dividing the league from its fans. He said the NFL needs “to move past this controversy.”

“Like many of our fans, we believe that everyone should stand for the National Anthem. It is an important moment in our game,” he said.  We want to honor our flag and our country, and our fans expect that of us. We also care deeply about our players and respect their opinions and concerns about critical social issues.”

No change to the NFL's policies has been announced.

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