Whitney Cyr

Managing Executive Editor


It seems to be a contradiction—huge, muscular men tackling one other during a football game, but this month, the players in the NFL can be seen wearing pink sweatbands, cleats, towels, gloves, and other game accessories, all in that bright, feminine shade. The announcers will clue you in that all the pink accessories are actually to raise money for breast cancer research. Some of the players’ gear will be auctioned off in the name of the cause and there is a ton of merchandise online at NFL.com for fans to wear and support breast cancer research and awareness.

What they don’t tell you is that a minuscule five percent of that actually goes to breast cancer research, according to the Huffington Post. Business Insider did a little bit of research and figured out the tiny percentage is what goes to the American Cancer Society. Huffington Post notes that 70.8 percent of the ACS’s donations actually go to cancer research.

“To break it down: After buying, say, a Jets sweatshirt and T-shirt for $100, just $3.54 actually goes to cancer research,” the article on the Post said. As someone who lost a loved one to breast cancer, this is absolutely indefensible. While $3.54 of a purchase is actually helping breast cancer patients, $96.46 goes into someone else’s pocket.

On the NFL’s website, a Patriots sweatshirt donning the breast cancer pink ribbons costs $69.99, pink rain boots are $94.99 and a Wilson official size football with the breast cancer logo is $129.99. The prices are marked up, obviously, but people buying this breast cancer awareness gear think that it’s expensive, but hey, it’s going to help people with cancer, right?

The NFL is feeding off of people’s desires to help out breast cancer patients, all while pocketing the rest of the funds. According to the Huffington Post, the rest of the money goes to fundraising the awareness campaigns called “A Crucial Catch,” but does so much of that money need to be allotted to pay for the campaign?

According to ESPN.com, the NFL is a $9.5 million  industry every year, so it seems to be the organization has a little bit of cash to spare to fund its breast cancer campaigns, in exchange for a larger profit margin from it’s sales to go to actual breast cancer research. It seems like it’s too much to ask for the NFL to selflessly help others struggling with breast cancer.

To put things in perspective, the KSC women’s volleyball team had games this weekend, while holding a bake sale for breast cancer research and awareness. The players wore pink sweatbands, pink t-shirts and ribbons in their hair, and coach Bob Weiner was wearing a pink button down, while vendors outside sold baked goods. According to Weiner, the team raised $1,272 from the bake sale, in addition to online donations. The donations went to the charity Side-Out Foundation, an organizations set up to sponsor volleyball events where people can donate money to breast cancer awareness and research. According to its website, www.side-out.org, “Side-Out’s operating budget limits general and administrative expenses to strictly overhead costs in sponsoring these volleyball related fundraising activities.  The members of the board receive no remuneration, and our goal is to obtain sponsorships to defray tournament overhead costs. With the generosity of corporate sponsors, we can allocate 100 percent of funds generated by our volleyball events.”

While Side-Out Foundation may not be a multi-million dollar industry on the scale of the NFL, the website recognizes the fact that in order to run their business some of their donations have to go to those expenses, but they try to make sure most of their money goes to breast cancer research and awareness. According to its tax returns published on the website, the company made 1.4 million dollars last year, after paying $574,203 in fundraising expenses, which is a much more reasonable margin of donations. Imagine if the KSC volleyball game had been using the NFL’s system of raising money for breast cancer donations. A whopping $25,440 would have had to be spent, in order for breast cancer research to receive $1,272.

It brings up another point, which is the fact that people think if the breast cancer ribbon is put on anything, it is immediately going to research to help cancer patients, but if the NFL is any indication, most of the money doesn’t actually go to what it says it does. While slapping a pink ribbon on any sort of merchandise and marking it up for breast cancer awareness will ensure people will purchase it, it’s now becoming increasingly important to be active in other ways. If you would like to do something about breast cancer, don’t turn to buying an overpriced pink sweatband from the NFL. There’s enough awareness about breast cancer. What needs to be worked on now is funding more programs and research to solve and cure the problem. My point is, be aware of how you donate to charities and where the money goes.

Simply writing to your local politicians was what helped my grandmother sign a Massachusetts bill into law to provide more funding for breast cancer research. If you’re passionate about a cause, don’t throw away your money on a pink hat with a breast cancer ribbon on it. It’s going into Roger Goodell’s pocket, not for the cause you think it’s going for.


Whitney Cyr can be contacted

at wcyr@keene-equinox.com


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