Think before you pink

Over the past few years, October has become Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Professional sports associations like the NFL have taken to wearing pink gloves, shoes and using pink towels on the sidelines. Now college athletes are wearing pink themed apparel, and I feel that the pink has run its course.

I do want to be clear; I have no issues with players, coaches or fans that want to wear a pink jersey or pink hat. I do think it’s great that a male-dominated sport can show support for a disease that mainly affects women, however, I think it’s unfair that the NFL does promotion for breast cancer and yet completely ignores prostate cancer.

Prostate cancer awareness month is supposed to be in September, but you’d be hard- pressed to find that out if you only hear about the different cancers from watching sports on television. I don't understand that if the NFL and now NCAA have time to make special pink gear for players and coaches to wear during the month of October, is it really that difficult to make light blue trim to support prostate cancer? I’ve heard the argument that prostate cancer isn’t as marketable as breast cancer, and while I do understand this aspect of it, I still think it’s unfair of the leagues to only show support for breast cancer.

Another thing that bothers me about all this awareness is that I feel Susan G. Komen benefits a lot from it. The American Cancer Society is the official partner with the NFL to raise awareness, but I always think of Susan G. Komen as the first organization of breast cancer research and awareness. The CEO of Susan G. Komen, Nancy Brinker, makes over close to $700,000 a year, and the organization has been shown to not give all their donations to research. I think it’s a stretch to call to the foundation “evil” as I’ve heard some people say, but I think getting a six figure paycheck when you’re the CEO of a foundation based around the death of your sister makes me sick to my stomach.

I understand the pink apparel is eye-catching and it’s supposed to make female fans relate, but the NFL has been doing this for years. The MLB even uses pink bats on Mother’s Day to promote breast cancer awareness. I’d say by now if you aren’t aware of breast cancer, you probably don’t need to worry about breast cancer.

In the end I like that professional and college athletics are trying to reach a wider audience and to help fight this disease, but to me I think their efforts could be put to use for more than just this issue. I hope someday we can see pink gear in conjunction with light blue to get both sides of the spectrum. And as for those who want to support the Susan G. Komen foundation, all I ask is: Think before you pink.