NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness Month is fun. It’s surreal seeing Ray Lewis chasing down a quarterback in his pink glove gloves and cleats. While nothing Brett Favre does should surprise us anymore, it’s still weird seeing the Wrangler man in bright pink schwag.
It’s all for a great cause. The players autograph their pink gear after the games. It then gets auctioned off with all of the proceeds going to the American Cancer Society and team-specific charities. Everyone wins, and there’s nothing to complain about, right? Not so fast.
Breast cancer is a big problem. It’s great that the NFL is contributing to disease awareness, but is it the right disease?
Let’s face it. The NFL’s core demographic isn’t women. It’s men. It’s the guy eating brats and drinking beers in the parking lot before each game. It’s the guy scarfing down a couple dozen wings and drinking a few pitchers on Monday night. And for these guys, breast cancer isn’t the biggest problem. For every 100 breast cancer cases, less than one is male.
Over at Reddit there’s a great conversation going on about what the NFL should really be supporting. Heart disease is the number-one killer in the United States. It accounts for more than 615,000 deaths per year. It even kills more women than breast cancer.
Between 70 and 89 percent of sudden cardiac events occur in men. In 2006, over 315,000 men died from heart disease. This is the real problem facing NFL fans. And if you asked most of these guys, they wouldn’t even know it. Most men suffer their first heart attack at 66—outside of the league’s core demo—but it’s behavior earlier in life than can either lead to or prevent heart problems.
Sure, October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month, and February is American Heart Month. But the NFL is our most popular league and one of the most powerful voices among American males. Rather than just attaching itself onto something convenient, shouldn’t the NFL put its charitable efforts towards something that makes a little more sense?
Even if it’s not heart disease, the league should be trying to make men more aware of diseases that could actually affect them. Maybe it’s prostate cancer or maybe it’s something else, but it’s not breast cancer.
What do you think? Should the NFL continue to support breast cancer awareness? Or would there efforts be better placed supporting another cause?