San Francisco 49ers safety Eric Reid slammed Vice President Mike Pence’s walkout during his team’s game against the Indianapolis Colts on Sunday, calling it a “PR stunt.”
Reid, who was one of the players to start kneeling with then-49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick during the national anthem to protest racial equality, told reporters that Pence likely knew that players from his team would kneel during the anthem, as seen in a video from SB Nation’s Jennifer Lee Chan.
“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,” Reid said.
“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.”
Pence walked out of the game after a group of 49ers knelt during the national anthem.
“I left today’s Colts game because President Trump and I will not dignify any event that disrespects our soldiers, our Flag, or our National Anthem,” Pence said in a statement.
President Trump later tweeted that he had asked Pence to leave the game if he saw any players kneeling.
Trump began his attacks on NFL players who kneel during the national anthem last month, calling on owners to fire players who kneel and for people to walk out of games if they see players participating in the demonstration.