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Paul Sethre, Fargo, Published October 23 2013

Letter: Pink NFL gear a cynical ploy

Does the sight of NFL players running around wearing pink all October turn anybody else pink in the face?

Breast cancer is a serious issue, but what about all the other diseases? Given all the research recently showing the links between football and dementia and other post-career mental issues, how about a mental health awareness campaign?

Brandon Marshall of the Chicago Bears wore green shoes one game to highlight Mental Health Awareness Week. His reward from the NFL – a $10,000 fine. After all, the NFL doesn’t have a marketing agreement with any mental health organizations, but it does have one with Komen. You can’t give away that valuable marketing for free, Brandon Marshall!

The NFL isn’t making any money from the Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, at least not directly. However, 95 percent of the money raised by the NFL during October goes not to breast cancer research but instead goes to fund their “A Crucial Catch” series of self-produced PSAs. By hitching on to the coattails of Breast Cancer Awareness, the NFL is cynically using a terrible and deadly disease to essentially market itself to women 18-54, a largely untapped demographic for pro football.

The Breast Cancer Awareness partnership between Komen and the NFL is self-congratulatory window-dressing at best, and at worst, a cynical ploy to market the NFL’s “product” to women using a deadly disease as the pitch.