Trump has won the NFL anthem debate: Stuart Varney

The NFL says: you will stand for the anthem. Finally, football gets a backbone. And President Trump has won.

The president understood, almost instinctively, how America feels about the flag and the anthem. If you don't stand up, you're insulting the country. That’s his position. So, at a rally in Huntsville, Alabama he waded right in; He called the football protesters S.O.B.'s, and said fire 'em. Right there, he turned the debate from alleged police brutality, to respect for the flag. He framed the debate on his terms. He provoked the liberal left, and they took the bait.

ESPN sports anchor Jemele Hill called him a white supremacist. Then she urged advertisers to boycott the Dallas Cowboys, whose owner insisted his players stand. Talk about biting the hand that feeds you. Same with the players: millionaires all, and insulting the country and the sport that gave them so much.

They've lost. And if they keep going, their loss will be even worse.

The president has been widely criticized for his sometimes outrageous tweets. That’s legitimate criticism. His off-the-cuff comments have gotten in the way of his growth agenda.

But on football and the flag, he knew exactly where most of the country is coming from: don't mess with the sport. Don't mess with the anthem.