Several commentators, primarily from the Left, saw more players joining the protest as a major defeat for the president, but they’re off the mark. Folks like New York magazine’s Jonathan Chait think that Trump has turned the kneel into a free speech issue, which is going to naturally earn the sympathy of average Americans.
In reality, Trump has taken the side of the flag and provoked multi-millionaire athletes into opposing patriotism. When several players for the New England Patriots took a knee during the anthem on Sunday, their own fans booed them. So do fans of the Buffalo Bills and the Washington Redskins when members of those respective teams knelt.
There are hardly two more liberal, anti-Trump areas in America than the Boston and D.C. metropolitan areas. Yet even football fans who live there can’t stand protests against the anthem.