Monday, October 10, 2011
Seeing red over NFL pink
A flamboyant shade is making an unwelcome intrusion amidst all the splendid fall foliage.
It’s pink and it’s everywhere. It’s on buildings, advertisements and all over every aspect of the televised extravaganzas that make up the manly broadcasts involving the NFL.
Has anyone else noticed this or am I the only one?
Of course you have and of course you know the reason why.
The panoply of pink is in support of Breast Cancer Awareness Month. It is the third leading killer cancer (second is colorectal whose awareness month is March, by the way). The National Cancer Institute says about 40,000 women will die from breast cancer this year.
I remember being devastated 30 years ago when my Mom was diagnosed. It was a grim 18 months of fears, false hopes and tenuous success that cost her both her breasts. She’s been cancer-free ever since.
So please believe me when I say I adore breasts and the women who sport them.
What I despise is symbolism.
And the epidemic of pink infuriates me because it allows people who should be doing more to fool people into thinking they’re doing anything.
Of course, I’m thinking primarily of the craven greed maestros who run the NFL.
They dress their players, their coaches, their referees, their goal posts and every aspect of their telecasts in pink. There are pink towels, pink cleats, pink hats and pink jerseys you can purchase with the proper credit card at NFLSHOP.com
Understand, this isn’t about women’s health. This is purely about marketing.
This is part of the NFL scheme to feminize our most masculine game. They’re eager to to cultivate the nearly 50 percent of the population that doesn’t reflexively reach for the remote every Sunday at 1 p.m. Plus, every time they release a new jersey, they know many of their loyal fans will shell out money to buy the trendy new color schemes.
Not wishing to be so cynical, I thought it wise to do a little research before I began tossing around inflammatory accusations about such a sensitive topic.
And I found out I was wrong.
I’m not cynical enough.
See for yourself at www.nfl.com/pink. It has important health messages, but the quoted gist of the month-long program is: “To help support this important cause, purchase your NFL pink merchandise at NFLSHOP.com.”
It says nothing about “a portion of proceeds will go to benefit . . .” or if the NFL will match any donations.
No, the colossal organization that spent the summer childishly arguing about how to divvy up $9.3 billion in revenue wants you to write a check, but seems reluctant to write one of its own.
Rather than a month of garish gridiron pink, I’d prefer seeing Roger Goodell announce, “Today the NFL owners and players together presented the American Cancer Society with a check for $50 million. We are asking the companies that run beer, car and sneaker commercials during our broadcasts to do the same.”
I guess I’m just like Cosmo Kramer from “Seinfeld.” And, really, the parallels are many. We’re both terrific mooches, devote our days to harebrained schemes and skate through life without any visible means of support.
But I’m talking primarily about our refusal to wear the ribbon. It nearly cost Kramer his life in the 1995 episode “The Sponge.”
He generously devotes his morning to an AIDS walk, but begs off when he’s asked to wear the AIDS ribbon. Whether it’s for reasons of fashion or if, like me, he has a philosophical aversion to symbolic gestures, it doesn’t say.
All we see is that two militant gay men named Cedric and Bob attack Kramer for refusing to wear the ribbon.
At least I’m inferring they’re militant gays. That too is left unsaid. All we know is the men act like an affectionate couple, are ribbon bullies and in a previous episode showed an affinity for Elaine’s antique armoire.
And when they find out Kramer won’t wear the ribbon they go medieval on his ass.
I wouldn’t want that to happen to me. And I wouldn’t want to slight anyone who may be going through the very real tribulations of breast cancer.
I just want everyone to understand nothing’s really being done about breast cancer just because Steeler coach Mike Tomlin wears a ballcap with pink accents.
I’ll be more impressed when October is more about giving the green than wearing the pink.