My latest for TNGG — as originally posted here.
Whether it is your mom, grandmother, aunt, niece, neighbor, friend, daughter, spouse, or yourself, almost every person knows someone who has been diagnosed with breast cancer. This is not surprising, as statistics tell us that every three minutes a woman is diagnosed and every 13 minutes a woman dies of breast cancer in this country. These alarming rates have caused an increased call for breast cancer awareness — hence slogans like “I Heart Boobies” and “save the ta-tas” popping up all over. The latest catch phrase to inundate us is “A Crucial Catch” — NFL’s slogan for the month.
The month of October is officially National Breast Cancer Awareness Month (NBCAM) and the NFL is currently in its third season of a partnership with the American Cancer Society. The NFL, teams and players are spreading the word and trying to focus on getting women to know the importance of getting a yearly screening, especially those if you are over 40. Fields have pink ribbons stenciled on them, game balls and coins are turning pink and you can even find pink cleats, towels, gloves and more on the players to spread the message. Not only are they wearing and painting things pink, but all the pink you see is being auctioned off and the proceeds are going to charity.
While the league has been doing this for three years now, some teams, like the Giants, have been supporting the cause for much longer. And they’re not the only ones. Many players in the NFL have been affected by breast cancer and the support comes pouring out from more than just the league. The Redskins’s tight end, Chris Cooley, whose mother is a survivor, works with the team’s community relation department to host the Chris Cooley All-Star Survivors Celebration, an afternoon to give to and support survivors.
But there are still some out there who only see this as a marketing ploy. Our friends over at the Good Men Project think this is purely a way to get more female fans — last year they pointed out that more fans are affected by heart disease than breast cancer. Some females even think this is just a way to show us that we matter. With these skepticisms, I have yet to see an official reason from the NFL to say why they’re doing it. But does it really matter why? They’re doing something great for women (and men) and they are showing us that they haven’t forgotten us. Plus it’s a lot more than we see the NBA, NHL or MLB doing.
What do you think? Whether it’s a marketing ploy or not, does it really matter? Or is the NFL supporting the cause enough that the reason behind it doesn’t matter much?