Because of Halloween, October is typically known for orange and black – especially here in Baltimore for the Orioles this season – but the NFL and Susan G. Komen have done their best to make it pink.
Pink, a predominantly “girly” color has been infused into the most masculine sport in America to help increase awareness of breast cancer and the ongoing search for a cure.
Many aren’t aware, but the marriage of pink into the NFL was originally the work of Carolina Panthers running back DeAngelo Williams. Williams’ family has been devastated by breast cancer as his mom is currently in remission and four of his aunts have fallen victim to the disease.
The NFL has done a tremendous job at creating awareness and fundraising to find a cure. The interaction between the league, its teams, and players has been unmatched in professional sports.
There is a slight issue with the pink campaign and I’ve asked a few friends about it, with most of them at least understanding my concern.
The elevated level of celebrity status NFL players have today can be a double-edged sword. On one hand, their endorsement opportunities are the highest they have ever been. On the other, they are under a constant microscope. In this case, there may be the perception that the player doesn’t care about the cause if they choose to not wear pink during October.
It happens on both a player and team level.
The first Ravens game during Breast Cancer Awareness Month this season was when they traveled to Kansas City to play the Chiefs. The Ravens weren’t wearing any pink accessories, whereas the majority of Chiefs players were covered from their helmet to cleats.
However, the very next week, the Ravens showed tremendous support during their only home game in October as they hosted the Dallas Cowboys adorned in waves of pink.
It’s not that I don’t think the Ravens don’t care about the cause but it just can be a little weird seeing one team with a dominant display of pink for a cause lining up against a team with barely any of it on.
It just seems lopsided during a league-driven initiative.
This also happens with players on the same team as I witnessed yesterday while watching the Detroit Lions. Calvin Johnson is one of the NFL’s highest profile athletes – he was on the cover of this year’s Madden video game – but didn’t wear any pink while many of his teammates did.
I’m a rational football fan and can understand that Johnson does a tremendous amount of community work in Detriot and even has his own charity but it just seems silly to me to not see him have on any pink to help this particular cause.
Not even something as small as a pink wristband? Come on.
Is this a silly topic? Maybe. Is it being examined too much? Possibly. But doing something as simple as wearing a different colored accessory shouldn’t be too hard.
These accessories also bring money as well. Many players have their gear auctioned off after the game as a fundraising effort for various breast cancer charities.
No single player, team or league is necessarily at fault here. I don’t mean to come off as attacking anybody for making his choice in the matter.
Rather, it’s more of a suggestion to improve a positive message and negate any type of irrational feelings towards a player who doesn’t outwardly support a charity by wearing an accessory to his uniform.
I don’t think anyone in the NFL is pro-breast cancer so it shouldn’t be a huge issue if the league were to at least recommend players to wear at least one piece of pink apparel during every game in October next season.
It’s uniform, it sends a positive message and it doesn’t single anyone out for not promoting a great cause and finding a cure to a deadly disease.
The NFL has something great in their partnership with Susan G. Komen, now let’s make it even better next season by making sure everyone is on board!