When President Donald Trump came down on the kneeling Football Players at the rally in Atlanta, many of his critics were aghast, especially at his use of vulgar language. Many pundits predicted that the president would turn out to be a loser. Besides, he has better thing to do with his time than trolling protesting professional athletes. The spread of the kneeling protests seems to validate this assessment, though the fans seemed to react badly to the displays during the national anthem.

The ratings for President Trump and the NFL are in

Rasmussen is reporting that the president’s favorability ratings are now at 45 percent.

The number is not ideal for any American president but is an improvement for Trump, who has languished in the high 30s or at most the low 40s for most of his presidency. A number of factors have been suggested for the spike, including Trump’s proactive dealing with hurricane damage in Texas, Florida, and now Puerto Rico. However, the kerfuffle with the NFL has certainly not hurt.

Meanwhile, the favorability numbers for the NFL have tanked, according to the Morning Consult Poll. The NFL numbers have dropped from 30 percent on September 21 to 17 percent on September 28, an astonishing number compared to how popular professional football has traditionally been in America.

The upshot of the matter is that yet another entity has gone against President Donald Trump and has turned out to be the worse for it.

The president may have been off-putting for jumping into the fray and pouring gasoline on the fire. However, he seems to have become a political winner as a result.

What happens now?

The NFL and the players have got to find a way to climb down from the untenable position with which they find themselves. By following the lead of Colin Kaepernick and allowing the president to goad them, the protesting pro football players have spiked a ball right against their foot and have damaged their brand immeasurably.

While some pundits suggest that they find a gracious, face-saving way to surrender, the players may be past that. They need to taste the agony of defeat and start standing for the national anthem without reservation or qualification. The plan, for instance, by the New Orleans Saints to kneel and then stand is not going to work.

There is some honor in surrender, after all, when one has made the mother of all blunders. One can continue to advocate for political causes, but Americans are not going to hear any message that seems to disrespect the flag of the United States.