A Crucial Catch: The NFL and the business of pink

October 28, 2012

Features, Football, User Submissions

Stephanie McClung  

Every October, the NFL goes pink. Pink cleats, pink towels, pink hats, pink everywhere! Ribbons are painted on the fields and hashtag movements are retweeted on Twitter while the most violent American sport undergoes a more feminine transformation. The goal of A Crucial Catch is to raise money for breast cancer research and spread awareness during Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

For a little backstory, my grandmother is an eighteen-year survivor of breast cancer. I could barely write legible English and I definitely couldn’t understand what she was going through when we visited her in the hospital.

Breast cancer is hereditary, and having it affect two strong and beautiful women in my family (my Great Aunt died seven years before I was born) is something that always hangs in the back of my mind.

I want to say that the NFL is truly passionate about raising money and awareness. I want to say that they are fearless in protecting their wives, mothers, and sisters.

The reality is: they want more female fans. It’s a business.

I went to to research a little bit more about the marketing. Granted, I’m checking towards the end of the month, but it’s still October.

After scrolling past pictures of Tebow, fantasy predictions, and tons of polls, I found the pink link towards the bottom of the page which took me to the NFL Breast Cancer Awareness Merchandise section of the NFL shop.

It wasn’t until I clicked on the Crucial Catch link that I finally made it to the proper website with statistics and the American Cancer Society links.

As a female NFL fan, I didn’t understand why the NFL even bothered. For every inch of everything in the month of October being pink, why is it the responsibility of the American Cancer Society to deal with the grunt work? Why are there no videos on with players, owners, and executives sharing their stories? Grab the few female higher-ups and toss them in a PSA! Take the movement beyond Sundays.

At twenty-two years old, I got my first breast exam last month. It was a little uncomfortable and a little cold, but I knew I needed to start getting yearly breast exams because of the risk in my family.

Matt Stafford wearing a pink hat didn’t make me “aware” of that, my mother did. Seeing all of the pink merchandise on TV every Sunday doesn’t fill me up with emotion dabbing tears from my eyes and thinking: “gosh, Roger Goodell DOES know what those infected with breast cancer are going through!”

Thanks Dante. Now we’ll be more aware of breast cancer every time there’s pass interference.

Women don’t need pink hats, pink ribbons, or pink towels to be “aware” of breast cancer. Women undergoing chemo in the hospital won’t look up at Aaron Rodgers wearing pink thinking “he does care.” Chances are you know someone affected by this disease. Encourage the women in your life to get mammograms.

Don’t be a creep about it; make a pact that (as a man), you’ll get your prostate checked if she gets her breasts checked. Because for a sport that employs 100% male athletes, it’s important to ignore the disease that can affect them on a much more personal level.

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5 Comments on “A Crucial Catch: The NFL and the business of pink”

  1. Anonymous Says:

    I believe her point to the article is to criticize of the NFL of doing nothing more than using BCAM as a way to sell more merchandise and attract female fans vs actually talking about what it actually means. Did you read the article. She was pretty straight forward on what she was looking for from the league. Just throwing pink on everything isn’t going to make people aware. Running special PSA’s with players discussing their experiences with how Breast Cancer affects their families is what she is looking for.


    • Anonymous Says:

      So the NFL having an awareness month and throwing pink on stuff doesn’t make people aware but have PSA’s does? I get the jest of what you are trying to say but having random videos or “PSA’s” won’t make people any more aware. Me listening to some NFL player talk about his experience with the disease doesn’t raise my awareness anymore than the pink stuff does.

      Maybe the issue here for both you and the writer is the term “awareness”. What if the NFL just had a Breast Cancer Research Fund Raising Month? That’s essentially what they are doing so would that make you feel better about it?


  2. Anonymous Says:

    What exactly is your point with this article? To criticize the NFL for having a Breast Cancer Awareness month?


    • Anonymous Says:

      This is a very good article, pointing out that the “awareness months” don’t actually do anything, except raise some money for research (and an extremely successful business). The NFL supporting Breast Cancer Awareness month is almost a great thing, but it doesn’t really raise awareness. Most everyone has heard of breast cancer, but there still isn’t enough being done to get people to actually bite the bullet and get checked. This is where the “awareness month” – and marketing companies like the NFL – falls extremely short.



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