When someone says football, more likely than not the first images that come to mind are big, sweaty, muddy and masculine MEN. However, as a yearly tradition this month the NFL will be getting in touch with its more feminine side. To be more precise, all of the players will be accessorizing with pink. Pink sweat bands, socks, cleats and even pink mouth guards, all in honor of Breast Cancer awareness month. The NFL has designated all games from October 5-27th as NFL Breast Cancer Awareness games, started its own campaign called “A Crucial Catch” which encourages mammograms and also donated 14,000 to the Susan G. Komen for the Cure at the beginning of the month. Not only is the NFL taking action, throughout the year Major League Baseball is incorporating 250 pink bats into its games, and the National Hockey League players will be using pink hockey sticks as well as many other professional athletic teams. It seems that breast cancer awareness has turned “Think Pink” into a masculine concept as well.
From the view of a Corporate Communication student, there is more to this concept than meets the eye. Professional sports such as football, hockey and baseball has had (for the most part) a predominantly masculine appeal. Not to say that thousands of women don’t love a full Sunday of watching their favorite team score touchdown after touchdown, or even participate in the sport itself. However, this “Think Pink” concept has become an athletic BRAND of its own. Fans of all genders love to see there favorite male players donning there pink accessories in order to create awareness of a disease that is statistically expected to effect 207,090 women by the end of 2010. Considering the biggest risk factor for being diagnosed with breast cancer is just simply being a woman, sports teams all over the nation that consist of mostly men are creating a whole new concept of branding for themselves. Star players within all areas of the athletic industry are taking action to show their concern for the cause; from Alex Rodriguez using a pink Louisville Slugger bat, to Cowboy’s LB Bradie James forming his own personal foundation that supports breast cancer, “Foundation 56”.
It’s pretty obvious that breast cancer is a disease that effects all parties involved, not only the women (and men) who are diagnosed. This month, the NFL and other sports teams are making a statement about their normally masculine “brand” and letting everyone know that real men really do wear pink.
– Lora Hampton