Ex-quarterback Colin Kaepernick tweeted an Independence Day message reminding us that he always was a radical leftist, America-hating agitator. His national anthem stunt always was about deliberately dishonoring flag and country.

Oh, and NFL superstar Drew Brees merits an apology from all those who criticized his original, thoughtful statement about why he would always stand for the anthem.

“We reject your celebration of white supremacy and look forward to liberation for all,” tweeted Kaepernick about the Fourth of July, because, he said, “black people have been dehumanized, brutalized, criminalized and terrorized by America for centuries and are expected to join your commemoration of independence, while you enslaved our ancestors.”

This precisely echoes the original reason he gave for beginning his protests at NFL games in 2016.

“I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color,” he said then. This was not a protest against police violence and racism that just happened to occur during the anthem; it was specifically targeted at the anthem and flag so as to blame the country as such for the ills Kaepernick was protesting.

The message was not that the nation per se had a flawed past and that vestiges remained in some people’s hearts and minds in a way that even well-intentioned laws and institutions had not yet eradicated. No, the message was that the institutions themselves were deliberately racist and oppressive and that the nation itself was unworthy of pride.

So, yes, all of this “kneeling during the anthem” stuff was and is about “disrespecting the flag of the United States of America.” Everybody knows it. It is precisely and intentionally about that. If it were just about protesting racism and police misconduct, Kaepernick wouldn't say things like that. Also, there would be plenty of other ways to make that point without intruding on what always had been an aspirationally unifying civic ritual. As longtime sports columnist Jason Whitlock (who is black) wrote this week in disgust at Kaepernick, “It’s a divisive hot take packaged as righteous indignation.”

[Related: Colin Kaepernick scores deal for ESPN docuseries]

Since then, Kaepernick has kept up a steady drumbeat of anti-American and even pro-communist statements and actions. He particularly likes radical-tinged clothing, such as socks depicting cops as pigs and a shirt proudly portraying Malcolm X meeting with Cuban mass murderer Fidel Castro, whom he complimented because of Cuba’s supposedly enlightened policies supporting education. He is likewise prone to sporting paraphernalia of the equally brutal and repressive Che Guevara.

Four years ago, after the brief reign of players kneeling during the national anthem, most teams and players came to a worthy compromise: kneeling before the anthem but standing during it. That way, they emphasized the distinction between protesting racism and misconduct, on one hand, and insulting the nation itself, on the other. The clear recognition was that kneeling during the anthem itself would mean the latter.

It was that understanding to which Brees, who had worthily joined the pre-anthem kneelers, was referring when he said he would never disrespect the flag or nation by refusing to stand at attention during the anthem. He then went on to express solidarity with those demanding fuller realization of civil rights. It was a reasonable stance then, completely unworthy of the abuse he suffered for it.

Now comes Kaepernick with his new tweet asserting that Independence Day itself is a celebration of “white supremacy.” He is wrong now, and he was wrong in 2016. Anyone who joins his movement to kneel during the national anthem will continue to acquiesce in the fiction that this good nation is inherently unjust.