Franklin Graham has praised Vice President Mike Pence for leaving the 49ers-Colts game on Sunday after several players took a knee during the national anthem and said he hopes NFL owners will "follow his example."
"Three cheers for Vice President Mike Pence and his wife Karen for walking out!" Graham, the CEO of Samaritan's Purse, wrote in a Facebook post Sunday afternoon. "They were at the Indianapolis Colts and San Francisco 49ers game when the players took a knee. I appreciate that our Vice President has a high standard, and I wish the NFL owners would follow his example."
According to ESPN, Pence and his wife, Karen, left the game after 20 members of the 49ers team knelt during the national anthem with their hands over their hearts. In turn, the Colts stood with their arms locked and wore black T-shirts with the words "We Will" on the front and "Stand for equality, justice, unity, respect, dialogue, opportunity" on the back.
Pence later posted a statement which read, "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. At a time when so many Americans are inspiring our nation with their courage, resolve, and resilience, now, more than ever, we should rally around our Flag and everything that unites us."
"While everyone is entitled to their own opinions, I don't think it's too much to ask NFL players to respect the Flag and our National Anthem," he continued. "I stand with President Trump, I stand with our soldiers, and I will always stand for our Flag and National Anthem."
Over the past several weeks, hundreds of NFL players have opted to kneel instead of stand for the U.S. anthem at games, in protest against racial violence in America. Since then, a number of faith leaders have weighed in on the controversy.
Tweeted John Gray, associate pastor at Lakewood Church, "Disagreement is not dishonor. I still believe Romans 13. Let us pray4the leadership of this nation and not be silent when injustice appears."
Televangelist James Robison said it's not "just the American flag and the National Anthem that's being abused and dishonored, it's actually freedom itself."
"I think most Americans have forgotten the value of freedom and the high cost of protecting and preserving freedom," he said. "That flag represents a blessed, free nation that has been more blessed than any nation in the history of the world and has blessed more people and more other nations. And it's because of freedom...God understands the importance of freedom and He's the only one that can give us the parameters, the foundation, and the boundaries in which freedom survives and thrives."
Graham, the son of famed evangelist Billy Graham, earlier said:
"There's a whole lot of talk going on about taking a knee during our national anthem," evangelist Franklin Graham wrote. "I can tell you how getting on our knees could make a real difference-not in protest or in pride, but in PRAYER. Praying for each other, praying for unity, and praying for this great nation and our leaders. 'Seek the LORD, and his strength: seek his face evermore' (Psalm 105:4)."