The U.S. military was honored as a part of 9/11 ceremonies before the game between the Miami Dolphins and the Seattle Seahawks on Sunday, Sept. 11, 2016 at CenturyLink Field in Seattle, Wash. (Jim Rassol/Sun Sentinel/TNS)

#BoycottNFL is an idea whose time has come

It was dumbarrassment as usual on the first Sunday of the NFL season.

Some players knelt in protest during the national anthem — on 9/11, no less. A few sat down. At least one raised a fist.

Colin Kaepernick promises to continue his boycott before the Niners’ home opener tonight. Maybe the washed-up quarterback will do something creative. Like blow his nose in a pair of red, white and blue socks or something.

Yet, shockingly, not one millionaire player wrote a check to make this country a better place. Or offered to donate his time and energy to a worthwhile cause. None even threatened to leave the United States, which is really strange, because there are sooooo many better options out there.

Fact is, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell and his posse should have stopped the nonsense days ago. No professional sports league has a stronger bond with the armed forces than this one. According to Article 51, section 6 of the collective bargaining agreement, it can curtail any public activity that discredits those core values publicly. Instead, it has crapped on itself and the millions who believe the flag and those who died for it deserve our respect, that there’s a more civil, effective way to initiate change.

So when is enough enough?

How ‘bout now?

A hashtag #boycottNFL movement has swept the Twitterscape the last few days. Hey, football fans have rights, too, remember? The more Balls talks with them, the more fed up they seem to be.

They’re longtime fans like San Bruno resident John Dillon, who watched the Niners with his dad at Kezar Stadium then served as an usher when they moved to Candlestick Park.

“If Kap wins the starting quarterback job, I will not support nor even watch any Niners’ games for the first time since I was a child,” Dillon tells Balls. “I don’t like racist police, either, but his protest is so divisive that half the Niners’ fans are going to boo him and create dissension on the team. How would you react if you heard your own fans booing the guy that is ostensibly supposed to lead you to success?”

And suburban Houston resident Daniel Waters …

“Most definitely, I already won’t watch any 49ers’ game and it’s because of Kapernick,” Waters says. “These players are role models for thousands/millions of kids, young adults and old folks like myself. I believe it’s a slap in the face and will only cause more harm than good. It’s disrespectful and the wrong way to go.”

This isn’t just about Kaepernick and his puppeteer girlfriend, though. This also is about the cheaters, drug addicts, sex fiends, thieves, murderers, women beaters, senior citizen beaters, drunken drivers, hit-and-run drivers and all the other self-entitled scumbags who have poisoned the NFL culture over the years. And the team and league executives who have allowed it to happen in the name of the almighty buck.

Well, it’s time for Football Nation to go into its own hurry-up offense.

The fans have more leverage than they know. Ultimately, they’re the one who have turned the NFL into America’s game and its players and owners into millionaires and billionaires.

New football metric: Zero interest = no league = lots of unemployed athletes.

Let’s get real here. You can’t quit the NFL cold turkey. It’s an addiction. You have too much invested in your team(s) emotionally and/or financially, whether it’s the one in your city or fantasy league(s), right?

Chill, people. Balls is glad to report that there’s a way to #boycottNFL that’s far healthier and much less painful.

Don’t eat Fritos or Big Macs. Don’t drink Pepsi or Bud Light. And don’t put Head & Shoulders on your hair or Old Spice under your arm pits. Those products are made by Anheuser-Busch, Frito-Lay, McDonald’s, Pepsi and Proctor & Gamble, among the largest and most visible NFL partners. In effect, they support everything about the league that you want no part of.

Then you can phase out the other suspects: Barclaycard US, Bose, Bridgestone, Campbell’s Soup Company, Castrol, Courtyard Marriott, Dairy Management, Inc., Dannon, Extreme Networks, FedEx, Hyundai Motor America, Mars Snackfood, Microsoft, Nationwide, News America, Papa John’s, Quaker, SAP Americas, TD Ameritrade, Verizon, Visa and USAA.

Hit the NFL where it really hurts. Then we’ll see change, all right.

HERE WE GO AGAIN: We were assured this would be an improved Raiders defense this season. Well, uh, yeah, maybe we’ll see it in their home opener this weekend.

Quarterback Derek Carr and the offense moved the ball consistently in a 35-34 slugfest against the Saints in New Orleans, but the D was abused for 507 yards. Sure, it’s a bit unfair to judge coach Ken Norton Jr.’s group on the basis of a typical Superdome shootout. But until further notice, not much has changed since last season.

So credit Jack Del Rio for his decision to attempt a two-point conversion in the final minute rather than play for overtime. When you don’t pack a defense for a road trip, the call is a no-brainer, but there are way too many testosterone-challenged coaches who play not to lose in this league.

THE LIST: Predictions for the Niners’ season ahead:

Week 1: at Niners 17, Los Angeles 16. If Jim Tomsula won his first game, then Chip Kelly can, too.

Week 2: at Carolina 24, Niners 6. Next . . .

Week 3: at Seattle 31, Niners 7. Next . . .

Week 4: at Niners 21, Dallas 17. Best to face Cowboys rookies Ezekiel Elliott and Dak Prescott sooner than later.

Week 5: Arizona 24, at Niners 17. Next . . .

Week 6: at Buffalo 17, Niners 7. Can’t even beat the counterfeit Bills.

Week 7: at Niners 31, Tampa Bay 28. Hey, look — touchdowns!

Week 8: New Orleans 21, at Niners 17. Saints are a different team on grass.

Week 10: at Arizona 35, Niners 10. Next . . .

Week 11: New England 52, at Niners 10. Tom Brady returns home, throws for six touchdowns.

Week 12: Miami 24, at Niners 21 (overtime). One-time offensive assistant Adam Gase strikes back.

Week 13: at Chicago 17, Niners 0. And former d-coordinator Vic Fangio does, too.

Week 14: at Niners 20, New York Jets 16. Spoiler alert.

Week 15: Niners 27, at Falcons 24 (overtime). Great. There goes the No. 1 pick in the draft …

Week 16: at Los Angeles 26, Niners 13. Rookie Jared Goff returns home, throws for three touchdowns.

Week 17: Seattle 31, at Niners 20. General manager Trent Baalke, your pink slip is ready …

JUST SAYIN’: The Giants return home for seven games, three against the San Diego Padres and four against the St. Louis Cardinals. It would behoove them greatly to win at least five.

The Athletics cut Billy Butler on Sunday. When did the A’s sign someone named Billy Butler?

LeBron James says he wants to buy an NBA franchise one day. Can’t happen. He owns the Warriors already.

Tiger Woods plans to compete in three events this season. You know, Tiger Woods. Golfer? Stanford? OK, Elin Nordegren then?

WHERE HAVE YOU GONE…: Jack Nicklaus and 18 major championships?

Got an opinion? A gripe? A compliment? A compliment?! Send them to pladd@aol.com, and who knows, you may get your name in the paper before long.

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