The NFL goes pink every October to boast their "A Crucial Catch" breast cancer awareness campaign. (USA TODAY Sports)
So, we witnessed another non-competitive, boring blowout again on Thursday night football courtesy of the NFL. The Packers demolished the Vikings 42-10 behind three touchdowns by Aaron Rodgers, who took the fourth quarter off due to the blowout.
Christian Ponder somehow found his way under center for the Vikings thanks to a Teddy Bridgewater injury, and that was pretty uneventful. The kid stinks. Put him in the same category as Joey Harrington, Tim Couch, Ryan Leaf, Kevin Kolb, Matt Leinart, Brady Quinn, and all other busts who seemingly resemble more of a deer in headlights than a professional quarterback.
We have now crossed into the month of October. Not only is summer officially gone, but the NFL's infamous pink cancer campaign is once again underway. For roughly six years now, the NFL has used the month of October as a way to market and sell their pink NFL apparel to women and men all in the name of breast cancer awareness and research.
The players, coaches, and officials don pink ribbons in support of breast cancer research and its survivors. Most players sport nifty pink spikes, gloves, chinstraps, towels, the captain emblem, helmet decals...the list goes on and on. And all of these items are of course for sale to the public. They auction off game-worn merchandise and autographs on the NFL's own website.
Then they partner up with corporations such as Nike, NewEra, and Dick's Sporting Goods to sell "special pink merchandise" to the fans. Thanks to humbled soul of Roger Goodell and his non-profit billion dollar enterprise, 100% of the proceeds go to the American Cancer Society. Or do they?
The NFL struck this cancer awareness deal with the American Cancer Society in 2009. They dubbed the operation, "A Crucial Catch," urging women over 40 to go in for an annual breast cancer screening. Since then, the NFL has bragged about the millions they have given to cancer research. During all the games this month, you will catch the broadcasters boasting about how each and every dollar the NFL produces from their pink promotion, is donated to breast cancer research. That claim is false.
The reality is this...the NFL donates roughly 5% of the proceeds because they sell the products at a 100% markup. Let's give the NFL outfit some credit, and say the number is really 10%, that's still a pretty staggering number. And the American Cancer Society has already admitted they take a little off the top as well, as only 70% of donations go towards the actual research for the cure for cancer. So if you spent or donated say $10, around 35 CENTS actually goes towards research aimed at curing this disease. The rest goes into the pockets of the NFL and it's corporate cronies.
We are literally, in a sense, celebrating cancer, not fighting it. We dedicated a month to a disease that kills our relatives and friends. Meanwhile, the NFL, a non-profit organization (I know, I don't get that either), which revenue goal is $25 billion dollars by 2027, makes money hand over fist in the month of October. Not only do grossly overpriced products get sold by the boatload for massive profits while actual research for a cure for cancer gets the crumbs, but the NFL also exploits breast cancer as a way to boast it's female audience.
Does that sound like a noble cause to fight a disease that pretty much affects every family some way or another? Are we putting profit over people? The answer is simply yes, whether we intended for that to happen or not. The facts are, people would still be aware of breast cancer without the efforts of the NFL each October, let's not kid ourselves.
Please don't take my words as hostile towards campaigns for research for cancer. I'm not a monster, and I'm absolutely not against the fight to cure cancer or help raise awareness for this horrible disease. However, I certainly have an issue about the way we are approaching the issue and how we are openly allowing a guy like Goodell and his less-than-perfect league profit massively off something that should be taken so much more seriously. This shouldn't be about 90% profit margins and increased tv ratings, it should be about helping (wo)mankind and taking a more direct approach of the root of the problem. Which is CANCER. Not pink hats.
Also, the month of October also happens to be domestic violence awareness month. Um, hello? Goodell? Where's the purple decals and spikes?
The NFL has been under immense scrutiny after numerous players, particularly Ravens RB Ray Rice, were involved in domestic violence disputes this year. Rice was released from the Ravens because of his actions. Adrian Peterson, who was indicted after he was caught beating his son with a switch, is also not playing football on Sunday's.
Goodell promises to take each and every measure possible to educate the players and organizations about domestic violence, but we aren't seeing any purple (official color for domestic violence awareness) on the field. I don't see him pushing purple jerseys and hats, or helping raise awareness for domestic violence victims, do you?
Is breast cancer a serious problem? Yes. Is it a major issue in the NFL? NO. Men play in the National Football League, and although it is possible for a man to get breast cancer, it's currently not an epidemic within the league. But domestic violence sure the hell is. But Goodell doesn't want to celebrate that, it's been a PR nightmare for him, and he wants nothing to do with it. So breast cancer and pink cleats are the move for Goodell. It keeps his pockets heavy, his corporate partners happy, and it keeps the all important female demographic interested in the game of football.
A little personal background on me before I close this out. I, like so many other people, had to witness a family member go through the agony and suffering of cancer. My little sister was diagnosed with lung cancer at the age of 20 years old. Doctors said her immune system was weakened due to an illness when she was younger, which helped the cancer fight it's way into her body.
After what seemed like endless treatment sessions, the doctors finally told us that my tough, resilient little sister beat it. She's been in remission for 8 years now and even miraculously had a child despite doctors telling her the chemo treatments would unfortunately not allow her to bear children. I know not everyone is as lucky, and that's why I'm so passionate about real research, and real causes to fight this horrible disease. Not fake ones like the NFL operates every October.
Cancer is a very serious issue, and it has impacted nearly every family at some point in time. The NFL isn't going to help cure cancer anytime soon, but they will continue to celebrate it, and deliver you pink merchandise as long as you're shelling out the dough and keeping your wife, girlfriend, sister or mother interested in football. That's the sad reality of this whole farce. It's hypocritical, it's shady, and it's impractical. Just like Roger Goodell.
I'm all for the raising of funds for research and making sure people everywhere are aware of the steps and procedures that are available to eradicate this disease. Free screenings are very good as well. But peddling pink stickers and pom pom's aren't going to change anything. Giving the tam-exempt NFL 90% of the proceeds isn't going to change anything.
If you truly want to feel good about yourself, or want to make a contribution to actual cancer research, donate directly to The American Cancer Society. The Breast Cancer Charities of America and several other non-profit charities are other avenues you can explore, instead of "raising awareness" for the NFL and it's middlemen.
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