NFL’s breast cancer awareness effort is making a difference

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Every October, the NFL temporarily suspends its obsession with the uniformity of the uniform and allows players to introduce so much of the color pink via socks and cleats and gloves and chinstraps and towels that it looks like someone spiked the laundry detergent with Pepto-Bismol.

It’s an unusual twist for a league that otherwise allows no invasion of the predetermined outfitting and no display of individuality or creativity of any kind.  But there’s a good reason for it — and it could be making a real difference.

According to, a Staten Island woman noticed last year the pink accents while her husband was watching a Jets game.  She asked about the presence of the color, he told her that the NFL is promoting breast cancer awareness.

“That night for the first time ever I gave myself a self breast exam,” the woman informed the Jets this week via email.  “You guys saved my life!  I am a 34 year old mother of 3 and I was diagnosed 2 weeks later with breast cancer. The outcome had I not seen that game and the players wearing pink would have more than likely been tragic because the cancer had already started to spread and was making its way toward my lymph nodes.”

We’ve confirmed the story via the Jets, and given the high profile of the NFL there likely are more examples of women using the presence of pink to get checked for the disease.  If you’re aware of any other examples like this one, let us know.

Even though the NFL’s effort focuses on breast cancer only, we all should use the return of pink every October as an annual reminder to take care of the health issues that we may be avoiding or overlooking.  Whether it’s that colonoscopy you’ve been delaying or the one-fingered necessary evil for men, be smart and get yourself taken care of.

Procrastination definitely won’t make the situation any better, and it could make it a lot worse.

54 responses to “NFL’s breast cancer awareness effort is making a difference

  1. Personally, I think it’s one of the greatest movements by the NFL. You see all that pink out there and it’s crazy to see at first, but it’s such a great cause. The players love doing it too. Can Newton even dawned some pink Beats by Dre headphones in his warm-ups. That’s commitment!

  2. Aaron Rodgers wearing a pink chin strap doesn’t make me any more aware of breast cancer… what about heart disease? AIDS, or any other disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people a year??

  3. Not only that but I’m sure the NFL had raised hundreds of millions of dollars since this began for research. So good job NFL with this and keep up the good work.

  4. Fans actually complain about the “pink”. It’s sad that guys are so uncomfortable with their sexuality that watching a game of guys wearing pink actually bothers them. Good to know it’s making a difference.

  5. If football caused breast cancer they would put a pad on breasts and keep playing.

    Replace ‘breast cancer’ with ‘brain injury’ and ‘breasts’ with ‘heads’

    Then think about the heart disease that was contributed to customary football day snacking.

  6. I think it’s an awesome decision by the NFL! Whether you’re a professional football player or not we ALL owe it to the women in our lives (Moms, Wives, Girlfriends, Sisters, Teachers, etc…) be supportive! All the data on breast cancer seems to show that if it is detected early enough, there is an excellent chance of beating the disease. BRAVO NFL!!!!

  7. Dont want to belittle breast cancer (or any king of cancer for that matter, however, the NFL is owned and managed (mostly) by men, coached by men, played by men and viewed (mostly) by men.

    That said, where is the hype, or the outcry for the light blue for prostate cancer (September)? There has been so much awareness put on breast cancer, that most women are at least getting a regular check-up on that. But how many men, whether due to stubbornness or ignorance, do not get a regular prostate check-up?

    Just sayin…would like to see the NFL make an effort here…

  8. If you can’t afford a doctor, go to an airport – you’ll get a free x-ray and a breast exam, and; if you mention Al Qaeda, you’ll get a free colonoscopy.

  9. According to the National Institute of Health:

    New cases of breast cancer per year: 207,090 women, 1,970 men
    Breast cancer fatalities per year: 39,840 women, 390 men.

    New cases of prostate cancer per year: 217,730
    Prostate cancer fatalities per year: 32,050

    Federal funding received per year:
    Breast cancer $870,000,000
    Prostate cancer research $399,000,000

    I am very glad that the NFL’s efforts are making a difference, but I still do not understand why they prioritize breast cancer over prostate cancer, or indeed any cancer at all. The NFL could help more than just the ladies with breast cancer. I suppose “save the buttholes” isn’t quite as inspiring?

  10. chuckyd317 says: “…what about heart disease? AIDS, or any other disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people a year??”

    I agree. The attention paid to breast cancer right now is way out of proportion to all other charities. The Komen foundation has done a great job for breast cancer awareness but a few months back they started taking legal actions against other charities that had their own “Race for the cure”. Yes, I know how trademarks work, but apparently it was ok to use money donated for breast cancer awareness to pay lawyers to beat up on other charities. It completely changed my perspective on the Komen Foundation and makes me wonder what else it has done or might do in the future. I no longer donate to Komen or participate in their races. At this point, other charities need it more.

  11. Why are people hating on the NFL only concentrating on breast cancer awareness? There is not enough room in the game to promote awareness for every single disease out there. They are doing good, so why the hate? The players love wearing the pink and at least they are promoting something other than their rich owners!

  12. I agree with maverick0. It’s a male dominated activity, and I think awareness of prostate cancer is something the NFL should bring about.

    There are more awareness campaigns about breast cancer than I can think of; charities, walks, 5k marathons for breast cancer. What about something that afflicts men?

    There’s only one commercial that I’ve seen to raise awareness and that was by Mike Haynes, a HOF cornerback for the New England Patriots and LA Raiders. One commericial.

    Come on NFL, do something that brings awareness of diseases that afflict men.

  13. “If you can’t afford a doctor, go to an airport – you’ll get a free x-ray and a breast exam, and; if you mention Al Qaeda, you’ll get a free colonoscopy.”


    I truly LOLd on that post…Good stuff…

  14. only 16% of the money brought in by the ACS and Susan G. Kommen is used for readearch. we need to stop donating time and money into “awareness” and put that money into RESEARCH! my mother is a cancer survivor, she refuses to do anything for the ACS, but we do walks and donate to people who are actually trying to find ways to stop cancer. learn about who you donate money to, the ace is NOT a non-profit. the CEO and CFO make well over $1,000,000 in salary. that money comes from YOUR donations. Donate your time and money to real organizations, not lobbying groups.

  15. I have nothing against the Breast Cancer program, but to be fair, shouldn’t the NFL also sponsor a men’s health issue like testicular cancer, or is it they are really only interested in gettting more women to watch NFL football?

  16. How about mentioning that only 5% of profits go to charity? That’s a fact. Even worse…the majority of that 5% goes to marketing. Very little actually goes to science and research.

  17. “chuckyd317 says: Oct 20, 2012 9:51 AM

    Aaron Rodgers wearing a pink chin strap doesn’t make me any more aware of breast cancer… what about heart disease? AIDS, or any other disease that kills hundreds of thousands of people a year??”


    If people had your attitude then nothing would ever be accomplished….. What a stupid comment

  18. That’s a great story but the NFL is truly doing this to massage the relationship with female viewers.

    The fact that their is an arrest ticker to the right side of the page shows what type of image some pseudo fans can have.

    The NFL will put a halo around their product whatever way possible to improve the bottom line.

  19. Here’s my opinion

    Pink is good. It creates sales to a new market-women. Also good PR obviously.

    women wouldn’t buy a men’s awareness apparel that was say blue. But men by apparel for the team not the cause. Therefore no additional revenue stream is created Therefore it is not priority

  20. Let’s not forget that the Susan G Koman foundation last year tried to stop giving money to Planned Parenthood, but they were bullied into keeping their funding of abortions.

    And, there are several credible studies, from all over the globe, that having an abortion may lead to an increased risk of breast cancer.

    If this is all about awareness, why do you NEVER hear that those who’ve had abortions have an increased risk of breast cancer? Isn’t making women aware of an increased risk what this is all about?

    Nope, you’ll never hear about increased risk due to abortions, because abortion is a national religion. So, until the breast cancer awareness crowd tells women the truth about abortion, and stops funding the practice, they won’t get one dime from me.

  21. When I see Pink in the NFL I want to puke. Not because the NFL has chosen to be proactive but because they chose to promote the health of womens tits over the starvation of 15 million kids worldwide each year. Sane men would put their childrens lives ahead of their womens tits.

  22. This is a joke. Over 99% of women with breast cancer survive yet it garners almost the most funding out of every disease. Sweet, lets toss even more money at something we’ve already conquered. Good for the gal in this tale tho.

  23. Why aren’t they doing anything for testicular cancer awareness?
    Are woman parts more important to men then their own man parts?
    What a bunch of pervs!

  24. Well can we make September Childhood Cancer month and let the players wear gold? They are our future and the survival rate is low.. I just had a child pass away with cancer and this would be a huge movement.

  25. 1uniquename says:
    Oct 20, 2012 9:52 AM
    Not only that but I’m sure the NFL had raised hundreds of millions of dollars since this began for research. So good job NFL with this and keep up the good work.

    And tons of that research is being done on non-human animals just for money instead of seriously working to find a cure.
    They won’t find one by insisting to study it in non-human animals that don’t get breast cancer in the first place.

  26. A 34 year old woman never heard of breast cancer before?
    Must be as dumb as a box of rocks.
    How much more awareness do we really need shoved in our faces?

  27. biggestredmiami — I support the awareness they are creating, but a whole month loses it’s luster. It gets to the point of thinking ‘enough already’ by the 3rd week. I mean some Octobers have 5 Sundays in them… practically ONE THIRD OF THE SEASON.

    That is plenty of time to make a statement for other causes just as important. Why not make any acknowledgement to state breast AND prostate cancer, or alternate weeks?

    It’s become a gimmick for the bottom line, as with any consumer product company that offers pink cancer products at retail. They make more profit than they donate on those goods (usually like 10-20%)… if it wasn’t about the bottom line they would donate all of the profit.

    It’s too much, and really all about marketing instead of promoting causes.

  28. prostate cancer and testicular cancer should be getting a lot more attention glad to see that the nfl is raising awareness and money in an attempt to fully cure the disease however they are a smart business enterprise though they are also attracting more attention to their brand from the female market along the way

  29. @noozehound. Raising awareness is part of preventing needless cancer deaths. Research is of vital importance as well, but we can’t sacrifice people’s lives today by putting all of the money towards the cure of tomorrow. Additionally, you’re way off base about the ACS. In addition to raising money for cancer research and awareness programs, they also spend money on patient programs to improve quality of life and reduce suffering. They provide Hope Lodges for people to stay free of charge when they are traveling out of town for treatment. They provide rides for people who have no means of getting to treatment. They can even sometimes provide air transportation. Do some research, please.

  30. Lets be real here.. The real reason this was put into place was to attract women to the sport. The bigger the pool of fans, the greater the cash flow. You do notice that the NFL has just started selling NFL jerseys for women dont you?


  31. I’m still not sure why the NFL feels compelled to dedicate 25% of it’s season to creating awareness to the most publicized disease in the world. Don’t get me wrong, I support curing all cancers, but the NFL admittedly doesn’t donate all the proceeds to charity. This reeks of the Shield lining its pockets under the guise of charity.

  32. It’s pretty obvious the NFL is trying to gain more female fans with this. But, hey…even if some of the money raised does some good, I’m all for it. However, I think they should raise awareness and money for other diseases as well. It would be more fair if they alternated…this season it is breast cancer; next season testicular/prostate cancer; the following season traumatic brain injuries (not a disease, but still appropriate given the fact its a real problem for football players);next it could be childhood cancer; then heart disease; then back to breast cancer; etc. Or something along those lines. The NFL’s popularity is a great platform to raise awareness and money for a number of diseases, not just breast cancer.

  33. Let’s keep the pink apparell, but change it from 100 percent pink to rings or stripes of different colors, one for each cause. then they can wear it all year long.

  34. Deangelo Williams is the one who should be thanked. He was the one who started it all and pushed the NFL for years to finally allow it.

    So thank you, Mr. Williams.

  35. So glad to hear that she’s doing we’ll. having said that I think the NFL really needs to promote prostate cancer month, as more men are diagnosed with prostate cancer every year than women are with breast cancer. Add into this fact that the majority of fans watching football are men, and the fact that men are less likely to even go to the hospital than women, I believe the very least they could do is promote both awareness campaigns.

  36. “Lets be real here.. The real reason this was put into place was to attract women to the sport. The bigger the pool of fans, the greater the cash flow”

    That sums it all perfectly and weeds out all the bs feel good story you are all trying to sell.

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