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Pink penalty flags won’t return next weekend


Every October, pink becomes one of the primary colors on display around the NFL as part of the league’s breast cancer awareness campaign.

Last year, the league had the referees in a Dolphins-Jets game use pink penalty flags and they extended it to the entire league on Sunday. Given all of the other pink on uniforms, around the field and on television graphics, it made it hard to see when a flag was down.

That won’t be a problem in Week Six. In an email to USA Today, NFL vice president of football communications Michael Signora said that yellow flags would return next weekend as a result of the confusion on Sunday.

Signora also said that the other parts of the league’s initiative, which includes goal-post padding and assorted apparel among other things, will remain in place through Week Seven.

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73 Responses to “Pink penalty flags won’t return next weekend”
  1. rsjem1979 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:06 PM

    But now people won’t be aware of breast cancer!

  2. raidadon says: Oct 7, 2013 2:07 PM

    Good call! Looked like a panty raid out there!

  3. bradybbgoat says: Oct 7, 2013 2:10 PM

    Why can’t we just have pink for one game? Does anyone else think an entire month of pink is a bit excessive?

  4. wrossi81 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:10 PM

    I’m glad they’re gone if only because the play-by-play commentators were whining about them on every single game this weekend. Much worse than the pink flags themselves.

  5. cbrown386 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:12 PM

    Great! I’m fine with supporting the cause and raising money and awareness, but the pink flags were very difficult to see out there, especially on TV.

  6. wtfchiefs says: Oct 7, 2013 2:14 PM

    I know it’s supposed to be for a good cause but all the pink crap the players wear looks bad with all 32 team’s uniforms.

  7. tmcb7 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:14 PM

    I respect cancer research and most everything associated with it… except this pink-out stuff with the NFL. The only reason these owners are allowing this to the extent it’s all you see when watching an nfl game, is because they benefit financially from it in a big way.
    How about a report from Florio detailing the amount of money spent by company’s providing the pink stuff, the amount of money generated for sales or auctions, the amount of money that actually goes to the charity and the percentages of it all.

    I’ve read a couple articles that state only 5% of all money goes to the charity and the other 90-95% goes to the nfl owners.

    If true and the public knew this, it would sicken them.

  8. cajunaise says: Oct 7, 2013 2:16 PM

    Great sentiment. Bad execution.

    The one that coats is the only one we need.

  9. pem34 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:16 PM

    Good – they were a little bit harder to see on the broadcast.

    Anyway, I am always surprised by the pink b/c I thought Komen fell out of favor about a year or so ago…

  10. ialwayswantedtobeabanker says: Oct 7, 2013 2:17 PM

    They really overdue the pink thing. It seems as though one weekend would make the point without the unnecessary overkill.

    At least they came to their senses on the pink flags – so credit to them for that.

  11. pooflingingmonkey says: Oct 7, 2013 2:17 PM

    Why all the focus on just breast cancer? Wouldn’t it make more sense just to focus on cancer, itself?

  12. edgarh21 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:20 PM

    Add a pink stripe or something to the flag. But still retain the yellow

  13. hay1111 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:22 PM

    Im already sick of it all, it’s nothing but a money grab to get females to go to and to watch games on TV. And I’d be fine with that if they came out and said that. But it all just comes off as phony. More men die from prostate cancer each year than women die from breast cancer but breast cancer awareness is what’s most important? Name another cancer with more awareness as breast cancer. It started when the NFL started making team jerseys in pink to sell to chicks, it’s all about $

  14. Rick Spielman is a Magician says: Oct 7, 2013 2:25 PM

    The pink is nothing but a marketing gimmick that uses people with a disease to make a quick buck.

  15. trollaikman8 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:26 PM

    This is categorically sexist.

    Hey NFL, what about Prostate Cancer Awareness month???

    And what color flag will that be, Goodell?

  16. omegalh says: Oct 7, 2013 2:27 PM

    What is “awareness”? Who doesn’t know about cancer?

    PS – Good luck to all the ladies out there.

  17. CKL says: Oct 7, 2013 2:29 PM

    I’m a woman and I am so so so tired of all these “awareness” things for topics that you would be aware of if you were 3 years old because they’ve been done constantly by so many outlets. The funny thing is they’ve been running that commercial featuring that lady who is a Jets fan who had to ask her husband what all that pink was about and he had to tell her and when he did, she got checked, etc. So even though they were likely trying to make the point that these pink things help “awareness” I think it actually hurts their point. We women fans just want to watch football. I have zero problem with players honoring the women in their lives with wearing a ribbon, socks, whatever, but why have SO MANY THINGS be pink? It’s ludicrous. Along with the idea that were I a WRor DB or OL, etc it might actually attract the ref’s attention to my hands and lead to more penalties. Getting a legal advantage that helps me win>wearing pink.

    How about they have mental health month instead? Wouldn’t that tie in better with some of the players’ struggles and the fact that guys don’t tend to think it’s macho to seek help for them to begin with?

  18. dowhatifeellike says: Oct 7, 2013 2:31 PM

    Breast cancer has fallen to #6 among the leading killers of women (right above unintentional injuries). Perhaps it is time retool and refocus. Cancer in general is #2 but breast cancer is no longer a major contributor to that number.

    The Susan G. Komen Foundation has done an excellent job, but now their bureaucracy eats up most of the money they raise.

    How about the NFL get something going for heart disease? Diabetes? Other forms of cancer? Bueller?

  19. bigjd says: Oct 7, 2013 2:31 PM

    This whole thing just seems a little too commercialized.

  20. harrycanyon says: Oct 7, 2013 2:32 PM

    Enough with the Pink stuff. I am all for awareness, but I am tired of the pink stuff over taking team colors. One week would be fine, and commercials throughout the month of October. Maybe even limit the amount of pink to ONE item per player. Those pink socks and arm sleeves the Raiders had on last night were horrible looking. Enough is Enough. There are just as effective ways of making people aware, without making everything pink in a tough violent sport like football. I truly believe before the madness ends, there will be a team with a pink jersey.

  21. wearethesteelers says: Oct 7, 2013 2:36 PM

    Breast cancer awareness: a great cause. It’s too bad the NFL doesn’t actually care about breast cancer awareness. It only cares about money.

    From a business perspective it makes a lot of sense. It does the following:
    I. Garners new female fans, which is essential in their eyes. Women make up more than half of the television market. Statistics show that women viewership of NFL programming has sharply increased since the Crucial Catch marketing program and other programs geared towards women.

    II. Promotes a philanthropic image for the NFL and its partners.

    III. Crucial Catch apparel profits. While the NFL does donate all proceeds from the auctioned player apparel, it refuses to say how much of its Crucial Catch apparel profits go towards the cause.

    In the end, the NFL commits less than one percent of its profits to all of its associated charities.

    Don’t be fooled. While all we see is pink in October, all the NFL sees is green.

  22. Luke says: Oct 7, 2013 2:38 PM

    This is good news. I’m red-green colorblind and found the pink flags to be very difficult to see.

  23. t8ertot says: Oct 7, 2013 2:39 PM

    Some visiting team locker rooms are painted pink to get into the psyche of players

  24. zoellner25 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:40 PM

    I thought players towels were falling off when a few flags were thrown. good cause, but way over the top in this instance.

  25. hawkforlife says: Oct 7, 2013 2:40 PM

    As all above, we don’t need a month of awareness. One weekend then end it. We, men, don’t need to be hit over the head as if we’re all fat slob caveman couch potatoes that care nothing for a serious problem.

  26. Go-Hawks! says: Oct 7, 2013 2:40 PM

    I don’t care if the penalty flags are pink or yellow or any other color. The problem is that each and every player had a pink towel.

    Who’s bright idea was it to make the penalty flags the same color as the player towels!?!

  27. wrongsizeglass says: Oct 7, 2013 2:41 PM

    This was obvious during Thursday’s game. How could they not see this type of confusion coming?

  28. FinFan68 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:42 PM

    I would rather they keep the pink flags and eliminate the pink towels, gloves, shoes, etc.

    The cause is good but they go overboard. Limit it to a stadium and television PSA during every game, pink flags, pink pylons, pink goal post wraps and a pink ribbon graphic in each end zone. That would send the same message and would not be nearly as crappy looking when watching the games.

  29. hailskins94 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:43 PM

    I understand all of the pink stuff they do because it’s for a great cause but once again this is the NFL taking things too far. Way too much pink everywhere this year. It’s gone beyond a great cause and shows the NFL’s greed, yet again, in seeing how much pink merchandise they can sell.

  30. cmosiedrum says: Oct 7, 2013 2:45 PM

    tmcb7 says:

    I respect cancer research and most everything associated with it… except this pink-out stuff with the NFL. The only reason these owners are allowing this to the extent it’s all you see when watching an nfl game, is because they benefit financially from it in a big way.
    I feel what was originally a good gesture by the NFL has become a part of their grind to make as much $$$ as possible. It gets more of the ladies involved and spending money, and what little the NFL donates is a tax write off, so it’s a win in a big way for them. That’s why it’s so over the top…
    Oh no, they aren’t going to slow down their money making machine.

  31. tramonisland says: Oct 7, 2013 2:45 PM

    The imaginary pink first down lines on TV were obnoxious. Enough is enough already.

  32. wrongsizeglass says: Oct 7, 2013 2:47 PM

    pooflingingmonkey says:
    Oct 7, 2013 2:17 PM
    Why all the focus on just breast cancer? Wouldn’t it make more sense just to focus on cancer, itself?

    ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~ ~

    That wouldn’t serve the real purpose of this “display of support” by the NFL, which is to reach out to female football fans.

    I’m all in favor of Breast Cancer awareness and supporting the cause, but the NFL’s “support” is just a means to sell “pink” merchandise and to appease female fans.

    I sure don’t see them doing a game, let alone a weekend of ALS awareness … not even for Steve Gleason.

  33. awm7353 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:48 PM

    Football. A man’s game. Have you ever heard of the NFL promoting anything about prostate cancer? The “brain”trust in the NFL want people to be aware of something only morons would not know about. Awareness. Symbolism over substance. Caring is one thing. Doing something about it is another. If the NFL wants to donate for research or whatnot, fine, don’t shove a whole month of feminizing a man’s game on us. Grow a pair Roger!

  34. FinFan68 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:50 PM

    I forgot to mention that there are very specific and standardized colors that represent awareness for various forms of cancer. The “hooker pink” that we see during the games is not and has never been representative of breast cancer awareness.

  35. granadafan says: Oct 7, 2013 2:51 PM

    I applaud the NFL for making breast cancer awareness part of it’s regular season. We all have grandmothers, mothers, sisters, wives, girlfriends, daughters, aunts, nieces, cousins, friends, or colleagues who have or will be affected by breast cancer.

    That said, let’s not pretend that the NFL is only doing this out of the kindness of their own hearts or that they feel bad for the women in their lives. They’re making a boatload of money out of this.

  36. ilovefoolsball says: Oct 7, 2013 2:52 PM

    When will the NFL use red to bring awareness to brain trauma?

  37. vtdcfan says: Oct 7, 2013 2:53 PM

    Thank you! How about just two pink ribbons painted on both 20 yrd lines and that’s it…

  38. killitandeatit says: Oct 7, 2013 2:56 PM

    You know you have gone too far ….when… you use a pink penalty flag. Another bad idea : why don’t we change all stop lights to pink for the month of October ?

  39. vbe2 says: Oct 7, 2013 2:56 PM

    It’s nice that they want to make people “aware” but it’s all a PC stunt. Why no “awareness” for prostate cancer?

  40. furnhole says: Oct 7, 2013 2:58 PM

    Political correction sucks. I’m all about being aware of breast cancer, lung cancer, brain cancer and all the rest. What color will the flags be for colon cancer awareness month?

  41. Deb says: Oct 7, 2013 3:03 PM

    As a surviver of three battles with metastatic breast cancer and a diehard NFL fan, I’m extremely uncomfortable with the league’s annual passion for pink. For one thing, many survivors–like myself–have issues with how the money from the nation’s Pink Campaign is disbursed. It is a controversial movement–in part, because it’s often seen as exploitative. I can’t help thinking the NFL is more concerned with appearing “female friendly” than raising money for breast cancer research–an odd fit for a male-dominated sport.

    More important, while breast cancer was long ignored by the research establishment, that is no longer the case. Many other cancers are overlooked as breast cancer gets the lion’s share of attention. While I’ve been fighting my disease, I’ve lost friends to prostate, lung, colon, skin, and brain cancer. Why not–as others have suggested–support all cancers. Or why doesn’t the NFL partner with charities researching paralysis, traumatic brain injury, Parkinson’s, ALS, arthritis, or other diseases more likely to be suffered by players? These causes are just as worthy as breast cancer, better fits for the league, and more in need of the publicity.

  42. onebucplace says: Oct 7, 2013 3:03 PM

    The pink ref flags was just stupid, but I like the hot pink when it’s used as an accent color, reminds me of Miami Vice.

  43. justintuckrule says: Oct 7, 2013 3:05 PM

    Get rid of the yellow ones too and let them PLAY!

  44. nofunleague says: Oct 7, 2013 3:10 PM

    I would rather the NFL donate the money it costs to buy all of the oink crap. Can you imagine what Nike charges the NFL for 50 pair of pink shoes times 32 teams. That should be enough to help a few patients… C’mon Man!!!

  45. alldonesmith says: Oct 7, 2013 3:11 PM

    This is mildly disappointing. The NFL is so rigid about uniforms and other visuals that it’s rare we get to see anything changed-up like this. Was the confusion really that bad? I watched 3 games and there were a few mixups but nothing that took too long or caused an incorrect call.

  46. klutch14u says: Oct 7, 2013 3:21 PM

    With all the money that pours into breast cancer why doesn’t the NFL, since it’s played and nearly watched but all men, instead support another form of cancer. Maybe like cancer that affects men?

    Of course this is nothing more than a marketing ploy to attract women…

  47. heymister24 says: Oct 7, 2013 3:25 PM

    It should be ONE week only. Talk about uniform violations. Total bullcrap having one month for one particular cancer, looks like a woman fan get by NFL.

  48. footballchic777 says: Oct 7, 2013 3:26 PM

    I told my husband they would have to do away with that fast! They were awful! What a stupid idea.

  49. boltschick says: Oct 7, 2013 3:30 PM

    I’m a woman who is also very tired of all the pink. It was kind of cool the first year, now it’s just tiresome. I like watching men in masculine attire and colors. The pink detracts from my enjoyment. 🙂

    Let’s shift the attention to a new cause like others have mentioned. I had no idea that more men die of prostate cancer than women die of breast cancer.

  50. dmartin17 says: Oct 7, 2013 3:33 PM

    Breast Cancer Awareness MONTH, not Day.

    bradybbgoat says:
    Oct 7, 2013 2:10 PM
    Why can’t we just have pink for one game? Does anyone else think an entire month of pink is a bit excessive?

  51. justintuckrule says: Oct 7, 2013 3:36 PM

    I hate the machine known as the NFL for a million reasons that I’ve made public but the pink flags weren’t their creation. I think a kid (a Jet fan) who lost his mom to breast cancer wrote a hand written letter to the NFL recommending using the pink flags.

    Anyway, the whole thing is a marketing gimmick. When they donate some of that 9B to cancer research instead of charging fans a new revenue stream and sending maybe one dollar from pink merch purchases to research, I’ll believe their charitable intention. Til then, Deb is right. They only want more to make the league appealable to more women.

  52. slick1ru2 says: Oct 7, 2013 3:36 PM

    I wonder how many on here know the NFL is a tax exempt organization.

  53. serkeljerks says: Oct 7, 2013 3:36 PM

    I agree….ONE WEEK ONLY………seriously. Enough is enough.

  54. rcali says: Oct 7, 2013 3:40 PM

    Thankfully. Hope the NFL didn’t hurt itself patting itself on the back all weekend. Way overboard.

  55. iamedreed says: Oct 7, 2013 3:55 PM

    do we really need a quarter of all NFL regular season games ruined by having teams wearing that ugly pink?

    the ravens have played it smart the past few seasons, only wearing pink for ONE WEEK, (usually a home game)

  56. pillowporkers says: Oct 7, 2013 4:03 PM

    The NFL is almost gotten to the point of a mockery of breast cancer. It’s sickening. I couldn’t tell if there was a penalty, or someone’s towel fell off.

  57. bordner says: Oct 7, 2013 4:03 PM

    Wow. A lot of hate for this here. Kind of sad, actually. Why are people getting so worked up over this?

    I agree completely that the pink flags were a bad idea. At first I thought they were kind of cool, but then I realized that you couldn’t tell if it was a flag or a player’s towel, so it makes sense to get rid of them. I did like the pink first down line, though.

    Anyway, I lost my wife to breast cancer 7 years ago, the day before Seattle played Pittsburgh in the Super Bowl. She was a football fan, and being from the PNW, she was a Seahawk fan, although she became more of a Packer fan through me. The NFL was just getting into the whole pink thing back then, but even then there were comments from people (mostly “manly” men) who didn’t care for it. Even then there were people making those unoriginal cracks about how they shouldn’t have to do it because everyone was already aware of cancer.

    My wife looked at the color pink differently after her original diagnosis. Her favorite color always used to be blue, but once she was diagnosed with breast cancer, it switched to pink. To her, pink was not a color of awareness, but a show of support. To see people, and not just women, wearing pink meant the world to her. It meant that she wasn’t alone in her fight. Even if it helped her just a little bit, it helped. And when you’re fighting for your life, I would imagine any help is appreciated.

    Everyone is entitled to their opinion, and I honestly don’t think there’s a right or wrong opinion here. But don’t you think you have other, more important, things to worry about? It’s just a color and you only have to put up with it for a few weeks, even less if your team has a bye.

  58. justintuckrule says: Oct 7, 2013 4:04 PM

    I think the pink flag has more ink in the material than yellow. If a heavier weighted pink flag is thrown and hits a player’s helmet, there is a greater chance at the player suffering a concussion (albeit a 1/zillionth more of a chance).

    There….if Goodell sees this post, he’ll do away with the pink once and for all.

    You’re all welcome.

  59. jjackwagon says: Oct 7, 2013 4:14 PM

    Get rid of the pink flags and put the refs in pink striped uniforms. Only because it would make me laugh.

  60. goawayeverybody says: Oct 7, 2013 4:23 PM

    Roger Goodell is a horrible horrible commissioner of football.

  61. originalsteelcurtain says: Oct 7, 2013 4:27 PM

    Not at all a fan of Roger Goodell’s October Pink Football Party…an ongoing embarrassment for the League..and for fans of the league like me.

    I love the NFL a lot less every October. This was a bad idea that should have been stopped before it started…a big bad pink joke!

    Pink and the NFL go together just like me when I set foot in a nail salon…not at all.

  62. hbdbrowns33 says: Oct 7, 2013 4:30 PM

    trollaikman8 says:
    Oct 7, 2013 2:26 PM
    This is categorically sexist.

    Hey NFL, what about Prostate Cancer Awareness month???

    And what color flag will that be, Goodell?

    Prostate Cancer Awareness month is in June and the MLB usually does blue armbands for it.

  63. Deb says: Oct 7, 2013 4:35 PM

    @bordner …

    I am sorry about your wife. But as you said, we are all entitled to our opinions. For people to express disdain for the NFL’s pink campaign has nothing to do with “hate.” That’s ridiculously extreme. Yes, I have other things to worry about–but every October, I get to revisit my cancer nightmare, courtesy of the media and the NFL. So I will speak up on this.

    Football was always my escape, and I’d rather not spend 25 percent of the season focused on cancer just so the NFL can draw more casual female fans. I was always afraid to mention my aversion to pink until the Washington Post did a story on this issue a few years ago. Dozens of breast cancer survivors wrote in to say they feel the same. We don’t all want to be defined by our disease.

    If Yoplait wants to give money to breast cancer research, then the company should just give the money. They don’t need me to buy a lot of yogurt and send in the foil lids so they can donate a few cents on the dollar. That’s not about breast cancer research. That’s about selling yogurt. We all get support from our friends and families. But our plight is no more difficult than the plight of people suffering other cancers. For the NFL to make breast cancer it’s rallying cry is nothing more than a marketing ploy.

  64. capslockkey says: Oct 7, 2013 4:58 PM

    Like others have said, this campaign has turned into a mockery and a borderline turnoff to many fans. It’s 10% about cancer awareness, and 90% about selling pink themed NFL merchandise. How much of those $15 pair of Nike socks that cost probably a 25 cent to make actually goes to cancer research?

    You want to honor cancer survivors out on the field at half time and what not, I can get behind that, but enough with the blatant exploitation. Where was all the teal stuff for the entirety of last month for ovarian cancer? Oh that’s right, pink is much more marketable to females so we’ll skip that disease.

  65. freevinnycurry says: Oct 7, 2013 5:03 PM

    Thumbs up if you never donated a penny to this cause based on NFL colored apparel.

  66. meana55 says: Oct 7, 2013 5:03 PM


  67. wikipediasaidso says: Oct 7, 2013 6:17 PM

    I’m glad they’re gone if only because the play-by-play commentators were whining about them on every single game this weekend. Much worse than the pink flags themselves.

    To be honest, our group of fans in the stands were whining too, because with players dropping pink towels from their waistbands every other play and the flashes of pink from shoes, wristbands, etc., it was REALLY hard to tell when that sliver of pink you saw was a flag coming out or not.

    We kept griping about what a stupid idea it was make the flags pink, too. I can kind of feel for the spotters in the TV booths who are responsible for identifying the flags while the play is in progress. It wasn’t always easy.

  68. badoglick says: Oct 7, 2013 7:23 PM

    Maybe if instead of taking millions of dollars and wasting it on pink flags and goal posts and other stupid, random pink crap, we you know, actually donate that money to breast cancer research charities.

  69. wearethesteelers says: Oct 7, 2013 7:54 PM

    You are all of our hero, Deb.

  70. yepperdeppers says: Oct 7, 2013 8:02 PM

    I think we should see all blue for a month for prostate awareness .. why not?

  71. artisan3m says: Oct 7, 2013 8:54 PM

    Here’s a thought ~ wear a pink ribbon decal and give all the money wasted on caps, socks, leggings, shoes, flags and wristbands to the cancer fund. I fully support the cancer fundraising effort but the NFL has gone slightly overboard on “costumes.”

  72. rcali says: Oct 7, 2013 8:58 PM

    There is a jets player wearing pink eye shadow patches. I know some of these guys are not the brightest cats in the world but who wants to break the news to him on this one?

  73. says: Oct 8, 2013 1:59 PM

    hay1111 fact check before you make a statement not an opinion.

    Latest figures available from the CDC are for 2009 in the US
    Breast cancer 204,000 men & women diagnosed
    41,000 died
    Prostate cancer 207,000 men diagnosed
    28,000 died.

    The support color for prostate cancer is blue.

    Whatever it takes to get people to the doctor for regular checkups to prevent cancer and heart disease looks great to me. Just look at the dialogue the NFL “pink-out” has caused!

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