NFL fails to turn pink into green for breast cancer funding


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THE NFL spends million of dollars to advertise breast cancer awareness, rather than spending the money to find a solution.

Lucas Johnson, Sports Editor

Among the richer fall colors of October, the nation has recently added a pop of pink. With the vibrant color, Breast Cancer Awareness month recognizes the perseverance of those who have been affected by this widespread disease. The NFL, a two billion dollar industry, has taken it upon themselves to support the fight against breast cancer by having all players and coaching staff wear pink accessories and apparel on the field and airing advertisements to encourage donations. At first glance, this seems like a perfect system to fund the fight against breast cancer; the NFL is one of the biggest corporations in the country with some of the highest ratings in television. Their outreach should be astronomical! The money they raise for breast cancer should be astronomical! Right? Wrong. According to Business Insider, for every one hundred dollars in sales of pink NFL gear, only eleven dollars and twenty five cents go towards cancer research. That means that the NFL is keeping ninety six percent of sales to pay off retailers and manufacturers, ultimately amounting to only a total of three million dollars raised for breast cancer since 2009. Three million dollars may seem like a huge sum of money, but for a multibillion dollar company, three million is pocket change. If the NFL were truly devoted to enacting change around breast cancer, more money could easily be raised.

The conclusion is this: read before you purchase, support, or buy [cancer awareness merchandise].”

Aside from being an attempt to fall in line with a timely and emotional issue, the NFL’s breast cancer broadcasts are not realistic. The company’s “A Crucial Catch” campaign is adamant that annual cancer screenings will save lives. However, Karuna Jaggar, head of the Think Before You Pink campaign and a supervisor of the nation’s breast cancer programs, says the message is misinformed. Mammographic screenings are very different from diagnostic screenings; the message that early screenings can help to diagnose potential cancer earlier is  dangerously outdated. Nevertheless, the error continues to be spread by a corporation that has no business giving the public medical advice.

Additionally, the NFL is very vague about how much they will be donating to either the Community Health Advocates Implementing Nationwide Grants for Empowerment and Equity or CHANGE for short. On their publicity website, the NFL claims states that much of the pink apparel worn by players and coaches will be auctioned off with proceeds benefitting the CHANGE program. But how much of the proceeds? All? Some? Close to none? ACS spokeswoman Tara Peters says that “the money that we receive from NFL has nothing to do with our research program.” Instead the money benefits the CHANGE program which provides information about breast health for women, informing about early detection and giving free screenings. The unfortunate piece lies in the fact that the NFL misinforms when more up to date information is easily accessible.

The conclusion is this: read before you purchase, support, or buy in on the NFL, or any large corporation’s message. With a message as convoluted and full of holes as the NFL’s, it’s hard to tell if the company is genuinely concerned with promoting breast cancer awareness or if they just want to promote themselves as a good hearted corporation. Taking advantage of a reputable and serious issue such as breast cancer is wrong. With fundraising and service work, honesty should be paramount, not something to consider addressing.