When Vice President Mike Pence walked out of Sunday’s Colts-49ers game in Indianapolis on Sunday, he did so because he disagreed with the decision of several 49ers players to kneel for the national anthem. Well, according to one of Colin Kaepernick’s biggest supporters, disagreeing with anthem-kneelers constitutes “systemic oppression.”
Yep, seriously. Eric Reid — a safety for the 49ers who was one of the first players to join former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick in kneeling for the national anthem last year — says he feels oppressed by a politician disagreeing with him.
“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, according to The Hill.
Just so we’re clear on this one: kneeling for the anthem is “free speech,” but leaving because you’re offended by it is a “PR stunt.” Oh, the irony. But Reid wasn’t done tossing out laugh lines yet.
— Jennifer Lee Chan (@jenniferleechan) October 8, 2017
“This is what systemic oppression looks like,” Reid told reporters. “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.”
I wonder how many people googled “Eric Reid salary” after hearing that one. (For the record, Reid is in the midst of a four-year, $8.4 million contract — oppression if I’ve ever seen it.) Also, interesting how “a man with power” making a political statement is “oppression” when Pence does it, but perfectly fine when it occurs across the NFL each and every week. The major difference here is that Pence’s job actually involves politics.
For his part, the vice president said that he left because he refused to countenance the implied disrespect to the nation and those who serve it.
“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.
How very oppressive.