Fox News Analyst Says Donald Trump is Losing NFL Anthem Protest Fight

President Donald Trump has begun to “backpedal” and lose his war against the NFL and players who refuse to stand for the national anthem over racial inequality and violence, according to a Fox News political analyst.

Fox’s Juan Williams noted that the president decried Nike over its decision to tap former NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick for a major advertising campaign but how Trump also said the apparel giant was well within its rights to do so.

“The biggest loser for the GOP messaging plan is turning out to be President Trump’s rants about those NFL players who kneeled during the national anthem to protest police brutality and racial injustice, including the fatal shootings of unarmed black people,” Williams wrote in an op-ed for The Hill published Monday.

Williams continued: “For two years, Trump has stoked racial divisions by stirring his overwhelmingly white rallies—calling out team owners for not punishing the mostly black players for continuing Colin Kaepernick’s protest.”

Williams, who unlike many at Fox has been highly critical of Trump before, said the power behind the president’s derision of protesting players had wilted after the league and at least one owner, Martha Ford of the Detroit Lions, pushed back against Trump.

The NFL said in a statement that Kaepernick’s cause deserved “our attention and action,” while Ford stated football had “long provided a powerful platform for dialogue and positive change.”

trump losing nfl anthem protest fox President Donald Trump speaks to the press aboard Air Force One on September 7 as he travels to Fargo, North Dakota, to speak at a joint fundraising committee. AFP via Getty Images/Nicholas Kamm

Williams also pointed to how other conservative politicians currently running for re-election, like Wisconsin Governor Scott Walker and Senator Ted Cruz of Texas, had each tried to jump on the president’s NFL-bashing bandwagon but had seen the attempt blow up in their faces.

However, Trump appeared Sunday to re-up his attack against the NFL as the league kicked-off its new season.

“Wow, NFL first game ratings are way down over an already really bad last year comparison. Viewership declined 13%, the lowest in over a decade. If the players stood proudly for our Flag and Anthem, and it is all shown on broadcast, maybe ratings could come back? Otherwise worse!” the president tweeted.

Later Sunday, the president retweeted a report about two Miami Dolphins, wide receivers Kenny Stills and Albert Wilson, who were the first players this year to take a knee during the anthem.

Kaepernick offered praise to Wilson and Stills by calling them his “brothers” and said: “Their courage will move the world forward!”