The NFL is the largest mouthpiece for Breast Cancer Awareness month. It really is unrivaled by all accounts. The behemoth monstrously sized organization, which is the most widely viewed television program in the world, turns itself upside down every year for breast cancer awareness. Players wear pink armbands and shoes. The NFL merchandising comes out with pink versions of most of its product line. Why do they do all of this? To fund breast cancer funding, right? To seek out that elusive cure to breast cancer, right?
If that’s what you think, you my friend, are sadly wrong. Check out this incredible piece from Vice.com, who busted the relationship a last year.
This is how it works: The NFL donates proceeds from its awareness campaign, auctions, and the NFL Shop to the American Cancer Society (ACS), which in turns uses that money to increase awareness, education, and screenings for women over 40.
“The money that we receive from NFL has nothing to do with our research program,” ACS spokeswoman Tara Peters told VICE Sports. All NFL donations go to ACS’ CHANGE program, through which the organization awards grants to “community based health facilities” located within 100 miles of an NFL city for educating women about breast health. The ACS could not provide the names of any of these health facilities, but it says that these centers have answered questions about early detection of the disease for at least 72,000 women in the last three years and screened 10,000 women at little or no cost.
“Screening doesn’t save lives and screening mammography … is different from diagnostic mammography,” Jagger says. “The NFL has no business providing medical advice to women that is outdated, unproven, and misguided.”
Here is the even larger problem: screening mammography simply doesn’t work (here). So the essence of what the NFL is doing is pushing a science that’s faulty all in the name of the profiteer (the mammogram maker). The NFL is marketing a product, not supporting a cause. This is a scam business full to the brim with pink hats and jerseys, but short on philanthropy. But the brilliance in this (and there is brilliance) is that the NFL reaps the benefit of being a supporter of cancer treatment. Even though they aren’t. They even spread their team brands via insane amounts of new jersey and hat sales.
Well played NFL. Well played.