NFL's Breast Cancer Fight Is Way More Than Pink Uniforms

Michael Vick Pink
Michael Vick is wearing a pink glove for Breast Cancer Awareness Month.
On every NFL game on every channel, it seems, there's someone sporting pink. Pink gloves. Pink cleats. It's all for Breast Cancer Awareness Month, of course, but it's more than that. It's part of a league-wide push to make the women who make up nearly half of professional football's fan base feel appreciated. Let's look beyond the color, shall we?

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If you were watching Sunday Night Football, chances are you saw commercials promoting the league's new push to treat women like grown-ups? They've kicked the "shrink it and pink it" method of making over men's memorabilia for the ladies and given us clothing that actually reflects our favorite team's colors. And those big, macho, burly guys are taking one for the team, so to speak, by donning the color most often mated with femininity in our honor.

As a football fan, I'll admit it made me smile to see country star Martina McBride surrounded by breast cancer survivors as she sang the national anthem before the Ravens game. I grinned wider when I saw the pink glove on Michael Vick's (injured) hand, and Tom Brady's pink towel.

But if that was the extent of their efforts, I would be sitting here saying, "Eh, that's nice, but ... what else do you have for me?" A smile doesn't save a life outside of fairy tales.

The real efforts to be celebrated are the league's partnership with the American Cancer Society to get women to actually get screened for the cancer that will hit 1 in 8 women, and an auction of NFL gear that will put money into the ACS coffers. Fans are being encouraged to get into the game with a pledge of $1 for every point their team scores. Those are tangible efforts. Those will really make an impact in ways that wearing pink won't. Those are what make me happy to be a football fan this week.

Do you feel like the NFL is finally treating its female fanbase like we matter?

 

Image via Rob Carr/Getty Images

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