Then-San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick, middle, kneels during the national anthem before the team's NFL preseason football game against the San Diego Chargers on Sept. 1, 2016, in San Diego.

This whole kneeling by NFL players during our national anthem, for reasons they cannot articulate, is all the rage.

NFL quarterback Colin Kaepernick started it, and when asked to explain said, "I am not going to stand up to show pride in a flag for a country that oppresses black people and people of color ... There are bodies in the street ... This is not something that I am going to run by anybody. I am not looking for approval. I have to stand up for people that are oppressed ... I know that I stood up for what is right."

Kaepernick has more "I's" in what he says than an Obama or Trump speech about someone else. Beyond that, it's every American's right to speak freely and mine to make fun of him or her when it's stupid.

His body is tattooed all the way up to his neck, so you just know the guy makes good decisions. His rants should have triggered the NFL concussion protocol.

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Ron Hart

He has been fined for using the "N" word against an opponent and lying about it. He was accused by a woman of abuse that sent her to the hospital. So he is a racist and a liar, and he abuses women. But let's hear him out on this one as he lectures us on the oppressive conditions in America while wearing a Fidel Castro T-shirt.

Apparently, the University of Nevada-Reno, home of the Fighting Blackjack Dealers, didn't teach Kaepernick history well. Castro killed up to 33,000 people during his brutal communist reign of Cuba. Kaepernick honored Castro while lecturing us on oppression.

Kaepernick's buddies from Black Lives Matter even had the audacity to protest my man Elvis' birthday at Graceland. Elvis sang gospel and blues, wore bling, and bought Cadillacs and homes for his mom. His daughter married Michael Jackson. Good Lord, people, study history and leave The King out of this. Has any white man met you halfway more than Elvis?

In London, NFL players sat for our national anthem and stood for the UK's "God Save the Queen." Really? You are supposedly oppressed by white people, right? England invented white people and, in cahoots with Muslim countries, pretty much invented the slave trade, enslaving 2.9 million Africans. Yet Kaepernick feels he knows English history and literature because he has the complete works of William Shatner in his mahogany library.

Both "Hands up, don't shoot" and Black Lives Matter are founded on a lie. Michael Brown didn't have his hands up in Ferguson. As to Kaepernick's anti-cop (pro-Black Lives Matter) assertion that blacks are being shot by cops at alarming rates, the facts prove him wrong.

In her book "The War on Cops: How the New Attack on Law and Order Makes Everyone Less Safe," Stanford's Heather MacDonald cites simple Obama administration FBI crime stats that disprove the lie on which Black Lives Matter is based.

First, black and Hispanic cops are far more likely — 3.3 times — than white cops to shoot unarmed black suspects. While they are only 6 percent of the population, black males make up 40 percent of all cop killers. Thus, McDonald determines that a police officer is 18.5 times more likely to be killed by a black male than an unarmed black male is likely to be killed by a cop.

Blacks commit homicide at a rate eight times higher than whites and Hispanics combined. Blacks are 13 percent of the population but commit 52 percent of all murders. This puts them into more tense contact with police. That's the issue Kaepernick and NFL players should speak out about. If you have a protest, be able to back it up factually.

NFL players are self-appointed messiahs without a message. Now when asked, they try to conflate their protest with not liking Trump's tweets.

The media love the NFL's faux protests but ridiculed the Christian values of Tim Tebow. Tebow played pro baseball after the NFL — not bad for a guy who has never gotten to third base. And Odell Beckham Jr.'s odd stunt of mock-peeing in the end zone was confusing too. Maybe I'm old school, but you should only pee when a teammate needs your urine to pass a drug test.

The result of all this? NFL ratings are down 9 percent year-to-date and at a seven-year low. Players can protest; fans can vote with their wallets. I love the free market, and I love this country.

Contact Ron Hart, a syndicated op-ed humorist, author and TV/radio commentator, at or Twitter @RonaldHart.