Seldom has there been a political demonstration as dignified and effective as that of the American football players dropping on to one knee rather than stand for their national anthem.

The first of them to do this were black players protesting at the way young blacks appear to be targeted, and too often shot, by police in the United States.

But the wave of protest has widened powerfully in response to a typically incompetent reaction by Donald Trump.

At a political rally in Alabama last weekend, Trump called on their teams' owners to drop them.


"Wouldn't you love to see one of these NFL owners, when somebody disrespects our flag, to say, 'Get that son of a bitch off the field right now. Out. He's fired. He's fired.'"

The owners have done the exact opposite. The NFL Commissioner called the comments "divisive". The owners of the New York Giants called them "offensive".

The disgust has spread beyond gridiron to another of Americans' favourite sports, basketball. The head coach of the San Antonio Spurs said, "I had no idea I lived in a country where the President would say something like that."

Those words probably sum up the feelings of the vast majority of Americans, including many who voted for Trump.

Owners of NFL teams are reported to have collectively donated millions to his presidential campaign. Now some of them, and their team coaches, are joining the players in declining to stand for the anthem and the flag.

Everyone knows it is no longer just the police they are protesting, and it certainly is not the unpatriotic act Trump is claiming it to be, they are a demonstrating their profound disappointment in him.

He appears to have no sense of the qualities expected of someone elected to his position. He continues to hold rallies like the one in Alabama and probably imagines the numbers turning up to hear him reflect the support of millions.

He may be deluded again. When he gets offside with stars of football and basketball he is endangering his base. In language his base understands, LeBron James called their President, "a bum".

Eight months into his four year term, Trump is clearly not going be a President Americans and the world can respect.

His language is on the level of a locker room or bar. He talks in superlatives that nobody takes seriously anymore.

His tendency to side with insensitivity on American racial issues is deeply troubling for the mood and social stability in that country, and his continuing exchange of threats with North Korea is inviting the unthinkable.

In response to his fiery tweets, the North Korean regime has stepped up its tests of missiles and nuclear warheads, and Trump will have done more than all of Kim Jung-un's propaganda to convince North Koreans they really are at risk from the US.

Americans made a terrible mistake at their election last November. Plenty of them warned their fellow voters this man was not qualified and not suited to the role.

But even as they gave those warnings they probably hoped they would be wrong, that once in the White House he might be moved by the grandeur and dignity of the office. Sadly he will never change.