Sports | October 9, 2017 8:34 am

Vice President Mike Pence’s Anthem Walkout Upstages Peyton Manning

Manning's number was being retired during the Colts-49ers game.

Vice President Mike Pence has been a longtime fan of the Indiana Colts, who drafted Peyton Manning back in 1998. Pence continued to root for Manning even when he moved to play for the Patriots, so it was no surprise the vice president decided to show up for Sunday’s Colts-49ers game, where Manning’s number would be retired at halftime.

Pence was already in Las Vegas honoring the victims of the deadliest shooting in modern U.S. history, and was set to make an appearance in California on Monday, Sports Illustrated reports. So he deviated 1,600 miles for the ceremony, but in the end, Pence had different plans: to walkout of the game. At some point, President Donald Trump, who admitted this on Twitter, told Pence that if players kneel during the national anthem, he was to leave the stadium.

But players were bound to kneel. The 49ers is the only team since the start of the 2016 season to have one or more players either sit or kneel for every game, pre-season and regular-season, according to Sports Illustrated. 

Journalists were asked to stay in their vans because “there might be an early departure from the game,” CNN reports. Approximately 23 players on the 49ers kneeled, and Pence walked out, making it the story of the day. According to Sports Illustrated, the top five stories on the Indianapolis Star website were all about Pence’s walkout, with no mention of Manning’s number 18 being retired.

This trip cost taxpayers an estimated $242,500, not including costs of advance personnel, Secret Service or support on the ground, according to CNNSome criticized the walkout, and the price tag, such as  Hawaii Democratic Sen. Brian Schatz, who tweeted, “Wait. This was orchestrated to make a point? That’s not an inexpensive thing to do.”