Unfair Criticism of NFL’s Pink Products

By Amanda Humer

Breast Cancer Awareness Month began at the beginning of October and signs can be seen in stores, on television ads, and on the professional football field. The NFL has actively participated in raising awareness for Breast Cancer since 2009 by having coaches, players, and referees don pink attire during games in the month of October. The NFL also raises awareness through their A Crucial Catch program.

Recently, Cork Gaines wrote an article for Business Insider that accused the NFL of profiting off Breast Cancer Awareness Month. The article says that the NFL only gives 5 percent of the proceeds to the American Cancer Society and that the NFL is keeping about 45 percent of the proceeds. The NFL has issued a statement saying that while they do not dispute the numbers, they want to make it clear that they do not profit off the pink items and instead the money that does not go to the ACS goes to cover the cost of the NFL’s A Crucial Catch. The NFL also donates $1 million a year as a result of A Crucial Catch.

I think the critics of the NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness program need to take a look at the bigger picture before they criticize the NFL. The NFL is not the only major entity that participates in selling pink products in the month of October and many of the companies that sell such items have a maximum amount they will donate. These companies are producing more pink products that will generate more in sales revenue than is actually being donated. By having pink products, these companies are encouraging consumers to buy these products over other brands and thus making consumers think they are actively contributing to the cure. So why is the NFL the only one receiving criticism for participating in this program?

The NFL contributes 5 percent of sales to the ACS which is better than donating nothing. They also have a separate program used to increase breast cancer awareness, not to mention the millions of other dollars the NFL gives to other partner charities. Critics say that even though the NFL gives $1 million a year through their individual breast cancer awareness program, that really isn’t that much compared to how much revenue the NFL makes every year. This criticism fails to take into account all the other charities the NFL partners with such as the United Way and Play 60, which encourages children to stay active. If the NFL were to give more money to the ACS they would have to cut funding to their other philanthropic areas.

At the end of the day, the NFL’s main goal is to maximize profits and revenue, and they are not a non-profit philanthropic organization. There is no law that requires the NFL to donate any funds to charity, and I assume most football fans would still watch professional football every Sunday if the NFL was not active with a number of charities. The NFL, as a male-dominated organization, has gone above and beyond the call of duty to promote breast cancer awareness. Critics of the NFL’s efforts do not have to buy the pink products and can donate directly to the ACS instead.

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