Many things about the way the NFL runs are ludicrous. My least favorite thing is not players disrespecting our veterans, nor is it patriotic types proudly announcing their boycott of football on every football-related comment thread. It is not the fact that the officials are gradually turning it into flag football in the name of safety, nor is it the fact that nobody even knows what the crud a catch is anymore. It is not the fact that taxpayers who don't watch or care for sports must pay for gigantic athletic temples, or the fact that a good amount of the owners who run sports leagues are legitimately horrible people. These things are all horrible, but one thing in particular makes me very upset with the kind folks who run the NFL.
It is Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
A very well-written article by Julie DiCaro of Sports Illustrated (click here) shows that, out of all the money the NFL makes on pink merchandise, only 8.01 percent goes to cancer research.
8. Effing. Percent.
That, of course, is only counting the money the NFL earns. They spend a lot during breast cancer month too. They buy pink towels, cleats, and other apparel for the players and coaches. They deck up their giant stadiums with pink crud. They spend millions on stupid TV commercials featuring survivors.
Imagine if they donated all that money to breast cancer research.
Obviously, they don't. Why? Because they want credit. They want to be seen as the league that cares about your dead grandma. Well, if the owners who ran the league cared about your dead grandma, they'd stop spending money on looking good and start spending it on actually saving people!
Don't tell me they're raising "awareness." We're all aware of breast cancer. Women know to get mammograms, men know to get their prostate checked, and children (well, their parents, anyway) are all too aware of the tragedy that is childhood leukemia. It's because these are the easy cancers that are easy to promote. It's so easy to wear pink in October, wear a fake mustache on prostate cancer day, or put sick kids in a TV commercial. Well, my grandma died from myeloma. Never heard of it? Well, neither had my family, until Oni got it! Everybody pretends to care about breast cancer, but when it comes to a cancer that isn't quite so fun, everybody shuts up. And it's not just cancer. One of my oldest family friends has cystic fibrosis. Don't know what that is? I'm not surprised. 1 in every 2,500 children has it (whereas breast cancer only affects 21 in 100,000 women). Yet nobody seems to care. Nobody seems to care that my friend isn't expected to make it to fifty. They can't show survivors on TV, because there are no survivors. They haven't found the cure. It's a disease without a color or a poster child. Yet, it's absolutely horrible and frighteningly common.
So here's what I'm suggesting this October. Don't buy pink gear from the NFL. Instead, donate $37 to medical research-the price of a breast cancer hat from the NFL online store. If you choose to donate to breast cancer research, absolutely go for it. Breast cancer, prostate cancer and childhood leukemia are all the more tragic, because people KNOW about them and still do not do anything that makes a real difference. I, personally, will donate to the International Myeloma Foundation and Cure4CF in memory of Carol Henson. I invite you to join me.