It was supposed to be about football. You know, that great American escape that millions in this country look to every Sunday. Throw in a ceremony honoring a legendary player at halftime, and suddenly you’ve got something to look forward to in exchange for the hard-earned money you plunked down to get into the game.
However, there was something else on tap at Lucas Oil Stadium as the Indianapolis Colts played the San Francisco 49ers, and the fallout has sickened anyone with an ounce of moral fiber in their body. Yes, part of the festivities this past Sunday included a visit from Vice President Michael Richard Pence, who stated he was interested in seeing Peyton Manning honored at halftime and cheering on the Indianapolis Colts.
After witnessing a remarkable rendition of the national anthem from the press box by the ultra-talented a cappella group Straight No Chaser — during which numerous members of the 49ers exercised their Constitutional right to peacefully protest the social injustice stemming from the unconscionable number of cases involving police brutality against African-American and Hispanic citizens in this country — I received a message from a colleague that Pence was leaving the building and returning to his caravan to travel to the airport.
After quickly confirming the report, I sat back in total disbelief before realizing it was nothing more than a shameful political stunt which, come to find out, was choreographed in advance with the president of the United States himself. Yes, the so-called leaders (strong terminology for them) of this country’s executive branch, knowing full well that silent protesting would occur, concocted a scheme in which Pence would exit after the anthem to put even more pressure on NFL owners to discipline players who kneel and, at the same time, placate Donald Trump’s eroding political base.
Clearly, Pence knew this circus stunt would please those who continue to ignore the plight that is racial discrimination and further support the platform of inequality that his “supervisor” ran upon in 2016. He ignored the fact that his pathetic actions would further divide the country, providing for more angst and, in the process, establishing a new record for insensitivity and disrespect for those very people who are being represented in a dignified fashion by the players kneeling on the sideline.
Our hapless vice president went on to talk through his precious social media platform (rather than actually facing the media), where he chastised those who don’t “respect the flag and honor the personnel who fought for our freedom.” Really? Can someone remind him there hasn’t been a war regarding our freedom since WWII, and that those protesting on NFL sidelines aren’t disregarding anyone’s military contributions as they continue to draw attention to the social injustice impacting so many people in this country?
My personal opinions aside, the charade conducted by an out-of-touch elected official clearly illustrates the lack of concern for minorities in America today and sends an already volatile situation into an even higher orbit. The money alone wasted on his caravan of shame by some estimates exceeded $250,000. That money could have been donated to our local food banks and homeless shelters, but that would involve compassion and common sense, which this administration clearly lacks. There will be a day of reckoning for Pence, and more than likely it will be at the ballot box. Until then, his message of ignorance and despair will continue to resonate with every individual beaten or killed by the actions of rogue law enforcement, as he simply doesn’t care. In his jaded opinion, there’s no problem wrapping himself in the flag as he spews more illogical rhetoric to those with a closed mind, hate in their heart and no concern for their fellow man.
Trust me: It won’t be the last time this clearly mentally challenged human being will fly into a city, dump a load of his preposterous jargon then retreat to the friendly confines of a plane, all in the name of Making America Great Again. All we can hope for is that it’s the last time his flight plan includes a stop in Indianapolis, sparing us from further embarrassment, both nationally and globally.
Extra points: While the sudden departure of the vice president received most of the ink, there was indeed a football game that day, as well. The Colts managed to defeat the 49ers in overtime to improve their record.
While the Colts finally allowed the local media to film Andrew Luck softly tossing a football in the air for a short distance in a simulated practice, it’s obvious he is nowhere near being ready to play again. This old scribe doesn’t think he’ll be able to play effectively this year. His injury was more serious than the Colts told you good people who buy tickets, and that’s far more disappointing than Luck’s inability to throw with great velocity.
The Colts honored Peyton Manning with a brief ceremony at halftime by retiring his number and officially placing him on the team’s Wall of Fame in the stadium. I mentioned “brief,” as Colts owner Jim Irsay rambled on so long at the podium it gave Manning little time to address the appreciative crowd in attendance before the second half of the game began. The team also unveiled an impressive statue of Manning on the North Plaza of the stadium the day before the game, during which various dignitaries and former teammates addressed the crowd. Manning followed up their remarks with a solid speech that illustrated his appreciation for the fans.
Indianapolis travels to Tennessee next Monday night to play the Titans on ESPN Monday Night Football. The kick is slated for 8:30 p.m. Eastern, and at this point, there are no guests from the White House planning to attend.
Danny Bridges, who is embarrassed to think Mike Pence was elected governor by the people of Indiana, can be reached at (317) 370-8447 or at Bridgeshd@aol.com.