Eric Wickstrom

Pink Means A Lot Of Green For The NFL

Created on Oct. 27, 2013 11:04 PM EST

I can’t imagine anyone was surprised when it was revealed last week that the NFL is taking the lion’s share of the profits from its breast cancer awareness, “pink” campaign. 

Apparently the American Cancer Society (ACS) is receiving a little over $11 for every $100 of pink merchandise sold. Meanwhile, the NFL is pocketing five times that amount. NFL apologists have defended this by pointing out that NFL deserves to make a profit and that profit is justified by the amount of awareness they have created for breast cancer.   Both these points are nonsense.

1. The NFL makes plenty of profit already. Billions of dollars a year. The television contracts alone are worth more than many small countries. Needing to cash in on the pink merchandise also is just greedy. 100% of pink profits should go to the ACS.

2. People were already fully aware of breast cancer. Everyone I know has a family member or a close friend affected by the disease. The NFL did nothing more than pick an easy sell and then proceeded to sell the hell out of it to further line their bloated pockets.  Maybe they’ll take a brave stand against child abuse next. I can’t wait for all the awareness and merchandise they will generate in doing so.

I for one think the pink campaign is about something else entirely. Yes, it’s about profits but you can’t have profits without a workforce cranking out a product.  I think the NFL is trying to set itself up for the next 30 years and they're using pink towels and headbands to do it.

The NFL has a gender issue. And not in the complexion of their crowds mind you.  While it's true they would love more female fans in the seats and wearing their sweat shop-made clothing, what they really need is another generation of mothers to think it’s okay for their sons to play football. They need the next generation of young men willing to slam their heads into one another in the name of sport and they need mom to give her blessing to do so.

There’s been a lot of bad press this year about concussions. While I’m sure plenty of fathers are rethinking their son’s participation in football, most people would admit it’s not really dad’s call ultimately. In the end, its mom’s signature those permission slips are going to get.

The NFL realizes this more than anyone.

What better way to make themselves more appealing to women than to take a stand against breast cancer? And, yes, I realize this isn’t the first year they are doing the pink campaign but it’s by far the biggest effort they have ever put forth. I for one don’t think it’s a coincidence the year of the concussions settlement we get the biggest pink campaign ever.

They need fresh blood to keep the profit machine well oiled. 

Want proof this helps with perception? Ask 10 random women who their favorite professional golfer is. The ones that can name one will tell you Phil Mickelson. The others will tell you they don’t have one but will let you know they don’t really care for Tiger Woods.  Ask the ones who name Mickelson why and they’ll tell because of his wife’s battle with breast cancer and Phil’s journey with her in that battle. It has nothing to do with golf. Nothing to do with the fact Phil is the master of the short game. It has everything to do with the fact they feel they can relate to Phil and his family and because of that they root for him on weekends. 

Right now the NFL wants to be more like Phil. They don’t care if women can name their favorite player or even if they have a favorite team. They just need for women to think they are the good guys. That they really wouldn’t knowingly allow their sons to risk their long term health by taking repeated shots to the head. That they wouldn’t cover up the science behind proving those long term risks and that they will protect them at all costs.  Because, in the end, they truly care about these men and their entire families.

And they sell them pink crap to prove it.

All in the hope they don’t seem that bad. All in the hope they don’t seem that greedy.  All in the hope their sons will continue to be allowed to sign up to compete. 


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