Note to President Trump, and anybody else who has missed the point. It's not about the flag. It's not about disrespecting the flag. The issue, which inspired a protest by ex-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick and has drawn many athletes to their knees, is, in fact, about social justice. And about race — all insistent denials to the contrary.

Let’s review the facts. Kaepernick went down on one knee a year ago, bringing attention to what a lot of Americans refuse to acknowledge: black men, many unarmed, are the victims of police killings — more than 220 in the short year span since Kaepernick began his silent, constitutionally-guaranteed protest. Against the backdrop of the NFL’s de facto blackballing of Kaepernick, President Trump amped up the racial animus by draping himself in Alabama’s racist history.

This is the state where Alabama Gov. George Wallace proclaimed “segregation now, segregation tomorrow, segregation forever.” The place where, as the state’s Assistant United States Attorney, Jeff Sessions harassed and brought charges against organizers registering black voters. The place where 300 black people were lynched during a 73-year period. And where four little girls attending Sunday school in a black Birmingham church were bombed to death.

And now, where the President of the United States cursed at the mostly African-American professional football players in front of a white audience about not honoring “our flag.” Brockton Parks Commissioner Steve V. Pina heard the dog whistle and felt free to hurl a racist slur on Facebook to accompany a picture of a New England Patriot. He expressed words I can't say on the air, finishing with this: "Your [expletive deleted] isn't paid to think about politics. Dance, monkey, dance.” Pina was forced to resign.

Oh, it’s about race, and if you don’t see that, you just don’t want to.

Last week, MVP Celtics basketball player Bill Russell posted a defiant picture of himself on one knee wearing his Presidential Medal of Freedom, the highest honor awarded to a civilian. The 83-year-old Russell captioned his photo “proud to take a knee and to stand for social justice.”

But I know that the throngs of defenders, including thousands of veterans, will not dissuade many seething about a perceived insult to veterans and to American patriotism. Instead, they see the flag as a sacred totem, not a living symbol of freedom for all Americans.

By the way, I am not impressed by the NFL teams and team owners' various displays of so-called unity. I know that was more about publicly standing up to the president than embracing the issue that sparked all of this.

It was a strategic move, which worked — the recent Ipsos/Reuters poll reveals 57 percent of Americans don’t think players who take a knee should be fired. And I continue to echo the sentiments expressed on a banner held by a Colin Kaepernick supporter. It read, “Stop focusing on what he did and think about WHY he did it.”