Tuesday, October 13, 2015

The hypocrisy that is the NFL's "Pinktober"

I’ve long had a major problem with the NFL’s observance of Breast Cancer Awareness in October and the main reason is that it’s the biggest load of hypocrisy that I’ve ever seen.

Pink, pink everywhere...
Courtesy Photo
The mockery of the “Pinktober” celebration by the NFL feels not only insincere but almost patronizing - let’s have our multimillionaire male athletes and our beautiful young cheerleaders wear cute hot pink things for the month of October because – yay! – we support women and breast cancer! Be so proud of us! Look how progressive we are! We are a male-dominated sport with a history of ignoring domestic violence but we know we have female fans so, sure, we support you! And, ignore the fact that we clearly don’t support women in other ways because for four games a year we wear pink!

I, for one, am not fooled, NFL.

We’re expected to applaud the NFL for wearing pink in October - the same NFL that routinely lets players who have histories of domestic violence and/or sexual abuse against women play a game in front of millions of fans and make millions of dollars while the women not only suffer in silence but are also shamed for what happened to them. Wow, how noble of you.

Now please don’t get this wrong – breast cancer is decidedly a big deal that affects more than 200,000 people and kills more than 40,000 people in the U.S. each year. But here is the most disgusting part of the entire NFL “Pinktober” – HOW LITTLE MONEY GOES TO BREAST CANCER AWARENESS OR RESEARCH.

You see, these devious NFL executives and billionaire owners, they’ve figured out yet ANOTHER way to make more money – by letting us THINK we’re buying all of this pink paraphernalia to help an amazing cause, but in actuality, THEY ARE MAKING MONEY OFF OF IT. Oh yes, you read that right. According to Business insider, the NFL is keeping 90 percent of the profit from the sale of Breast Cancer Awareness gear – yes, 90%. It is enough to make my blood boil. (Note: the NFL did make sure to mention to the Business Insider that they donate $1 million per year to breast cancer awareness charities. I’d like to mention that the NFL’s revenue is nearly $10 billion a year.)

Every October – and October only – the NFL trots women out who have or have had breast cancer, gives them the support and encouragement they desperate deserve, but they do it in a way that’s always felt disingenuous. Case in point: current Steelers and former Carolina Panthers RB DeAngelo Williams’ mother, Sandra Hill, passed away after a long battle with breast cancer in 2014. For years, she was trotted out each October by the Panthers to be honored as a breast cancer survivor. However, when she passed away from the disease in 2014, not a single member of the organization came to her funeral. So, just to get it straight – the Panthers used Williams’ mom as face of team each October for Breast Cancer Awareness, then ignored her death to the disease they "support."

Today, it was reported that Williams asked the NFL if he could wear pink all season – instead of just October – to honor his mother and FOUR aunts who have all died from breast cancer. The NFL said no. If the NFL really cared about women and breast cancer, why not let Williams honor his mother and aunts? Now, I know there are uniform regulations, but I have a hard time believing anyone would have a problem with a mean wearing a little bit of pink all season to honor the five women in his life who have died of breast cancer. To me, it shows that the NFL is using October as a ploy to appease female fans, more than as a way to actually support breast cancer awareness. This is the problem I’ve always had with the show the NFL has made “Pinktober” into: the one time they’ve been asked to really show their support – by letting a man who lost four aunts and his mother to the deadly disease honor them by wearing pink all season, they showed they true colors – which are decidedly not pink – and said no. Not only that - but they make money off of the observance. 

Frankly, it's disgusting.

No comments: