Despite Raising Money For Breast Cancer, The NFL Is NOT Donating Money To Research

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If you’ve turned on any NFL game since the beginning of October, you’ve seen the pink paraphernalia: the players’ gloves and shoes, the towels, the hats. You’ve seen the “annual screenings save lives” commercials that are part of the program, called Crucial Catch. But here’s an important question–does any of the money raised from the program actually go to breast cancer research? The answer may surprise you.

The program, which started six years ago, benefits the American Cancer Society. However, not a single penny of the money raised goes to breast cancer research. All of the proceeds from the program are instead used for awareness and education. According to Vice Sports, “All NFL donations go to ACS’ CHANGE program, through which the organization awards grants to ‘community based health facilities’ located within 100 miles of an NFL city for educating women about breast health.” While raising breast cancer awareness is a worthy cause in and of itself (trust me, I know) research is what will ultimately cure this horrible disease and NONE of the dollars raised through the Crucial Catch campaign are directed there. In fact, most cancer organizations only spend a fraction of their donations on research–for instance, in 2011, the Susan G. Komen foundation only spent 15 percent of its donations on actual research. If you want to make sure that your donation is headed directly to breast cancer research (or any cancer research, for that matter) you need to do your own research before you donate.

Also at issue with the NFL’s program is the amount of money that is actually donated. The program’s website states, “100% of the NFL’s proceeds from Pink product sales go to the American Cancer Society.” The key phase is the “NFL’s proceeds.” Vice Sports‘ article reports, “But that does not mean if you buy a $100 shoe from, ACS gets $100. If you’re buying any pink products from the official shop, the wholesaler, distributor, and retailer give 0 percent of their shares to ACS. The only portion that goes to the society is the NFL’s royalty percentage from wholesale sales, which has little to do with whether you buy a $80 hoodie or a $30 cap. Unlike some companies that spell out on the tag exactly what percentage of your purchase goes to charity, you have no way of knowing with NFL branded merchandise.” All in all, the NFL has donated approximately 1.1 million dollars each year to ACS as part of the campaign. While that seems like a lot, if you think about the amount of merchandise sold and media attention given, it’s actually quite a small amount.

No one loves professional football more than I do–I spend my Sundays from August to January happily camped out on the couch under a cozy, fleece blanket emblazoned with my team’s logo. As a breast cancer survivor, anything that’s done to raise both awareness and dollars for research is good in my book. But while the NFL certainly isn’t the only corporation that’s been accused of using Breast Cancer Awareness Month for profit or image, given its issues lately with violence against women, the whole thing seems a little more disingenuous, doesn’t it?

Via: Vice Sports

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Jenna Crowley

Jenna used to be known as 2NOTBrokeGirls, but then one of the girls actually went broke, so she's struck out on her own. Jenna spends her free time saving the world, one sorority girl at a time (usually while wearing yoga pants), questioning why she decided to get a doctorate, and documenting her love of all things cheese related. You can ask her anything you want about football, using your boobs to get what you want, and pizza at @JennaLCrowley on Twitter or via email at

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