I’m a fairly hard-core NFL football fan and I feel I must proclaim that there is something fundamentally wrong with professional football players wearing pink accessories with their team uniform colors.
Don’t get me wrong, the Susan G. Komen Foundation is a cause worthy of support that has saved the lives of uncounted women (and men) who developed breast cancer. Pink is their color. You see a crowd of adults in pink t-shirts somewhere and you think “Breast Cancer Awareness.”
I participated in several Susan G. Komen Jump for the Cause skydiving events flying airplanes for the women trying to set new world-records for women skydivers and raise funds for the foundation. “Save the Boobies” became the rallying slogan. Who could argue with that? Not me!
And where cancer is concerned, what better marketing device is there than boobies? Boobies are cute—boobies are distinctive, and everyone likes boobies. Guys like them, girls like them, my gay brother appreciates a nice set of boobies. One could hardly ask for a more universally appreciated marketing hook to get people talking about and doing something to cure cancer. But cancer doesn’t limit itself to boobies.
I guess watching Brett Favre and the Minnesota Vikings getting trounced by the New York Jets is fueling this particular rant, but I do have a point to make. The pink shoes and towels and chin cups and sweat bands are distracting. I’m surprised the defensive coaches even allow linemen to wear pink gloves. More than one holding and pass interference flag got tossed over the weekend because the neon pink gloves betrayed a foul that might have slipped by a referee except for the high-contrast apparel. Pink penalty flags might work, but pink just isn’t an NFL Football color.
There is great risk that I shall be accused of misogyny or of having a macho jock attitude for writing this post. To accuse me so would be unjust. I am simply not those things and those who know me would confirm my declaration, but I may not be fully channeling my sensitive feminine side while watching football.
I grew up watching NFL Football with my mom and dad. Several times every season we drove hundreds of miles to see the Vikings play at the old Metropolitan Stadium in Minneapolis, or over to Wisconsin to see the Green Bay Packers. No one in my family, including me, has ever been able to quote team statistics or obscure football trivia, but we enjoy watching a good game. For years after I moved to the Southwest and before my father retired from medicine, he would schedule his ongoing medical education classes in Phoenix, Las Vegas or San Diego so we could get together and watch the Superbowl. We are fans, but not fanatics.
Here’s the thing; cancer doesn’t discriminate and neither should the research for cures or the fundraising for the research. But prostate glands, colons and rectums, livers and pancreases just aren’t cute like boobies. It doesn’t matter what color you associate with various internal organs where terminal cancers originate, they are not cute. Other cancerous organs don’t generate empathy like boobies do.
I know several breast cancer survivors, and a few who did not, but a number of my friends have also survived (or not) prostate, lung, liver and colo-rectal cancers. Get lung cancer and many will assume you deserved it because you smoked, and most people don’t even want to talk about prostates and colons—hell, a segment of American society was scarred for life over breakfast when Katie Couric televised her colonoscopy live after her husband died from the disease. It was for a good cause, but some publicity ploys just don’t work as well as boobies.
By all means visit the Susan G. Komen Foundation website and donate what you can to raise awareness about detecting and curing breast cancer, and do consider donating to find cures for the other kinds of cancer and how to detect them early when cures are most effective, but please—no more pink in the NFL—it just ain’t right.