Tuesday, October 3, 2017

NFL Cancer Awareness Month

Photo credit: nfl.com
If you’ve been watching pro football games for the past several years, you’ve undoubtedly noticed the use of pink-colored accessories throughout the month of October. Back in 2009, the league began using the month of October (referred to as “Pinktober”) as an opportunity to raise awareness, support and funds for breast cancer screening and research. Logos on the field were trimmed in pink. Cleats, gloves, mouth guards and towels were pink. The league sold pink-themed items, with proceeds going to screenings and research. It was a unique promotion for a good cause that has been mimicked in college and high-school ranks.

Starting this season, the month of October will shift away from exclusive support of breast cancer to cancers in general. Teams will be allowed to choose any detectable cancer they wish and change their stance from season to season, meaning more cancers that are detectable will get the exposure and awareness needed to raise funds. Several detectable cancers have an associated color, just like breast cancer. Prostate cancer, for example, has the associated color of light blue. Ovarian cancer is associated with the color purple.

How teams will acknowledge their support for screenings and research remains to be seen and probably won’t affect uniform accessories for the 2017 season. While the promotional angles are worked out, chances are that portions of a team’s sale of tickets, concessions or souvenirs during home games will be donated directly.

Expanding the league’s promotional schedule to include more than just breast cancer awareness isn’t an entirely new concept. Over the last few seasons, the league has designated certain weekends for players to wear cleats supporting causes specific to them, ranging from mental health to social issues. In fact, several players involved in the players’ association are pushing for more months of the season to be dedicated to using their celebrity and media exposure for an even wider array of causes.

What charitable causes would you like to see pro sports leagues - especially the NFL - promote during their games? Share with us in the comments below.
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