Tuesday, October 6, 2009

In the Pink

This past weekend, The NFL followed the lead of other sports leagues in raising cancer awareness through splashes of color.

On October 4th, selected players on each team around the league took the field wearing pink accessories - cleats, gloves and wristbands. The Packers did the same for their Monday Night Football Game.

This is similar to a promotion that Major League Baseball's been doing for the past several seasons:

Above: the Brewers' Bill Hall wears a special wristband and swings a pink bat on May 14, 2006, as part of MLB's annual Mothers' Day breast cancer awareness promotion.
The league also added its special event logo to the back of each helmet, just to the right of the NFL shield.

They're hard to make out in the photo above, so here's a closer look at the decals.

The Packers don't use the NFL's officially-designated Captain patches in the regular season, but those teams that do were sporting pink versions:

The pink extended to the sideline caps, as all teams wore their regular caps adapted with pink bills and the NFL pink ribbon logo seen on the helmets.

(And yes, that's a special customized cap so McCarthy has a place to keep his Sharpie.)

The event wasn't limited to uniforms and sideline gear - the logo made its way onto the field, the goalpost padding and even the kicking ball. See the NFL's gallery of images for details.

I don't know how I feel about the whole idea. It's hard to oppose anything anti-cancer, but on the other hand I don't like the idea of teams using their uniforms to make any kind of political or cultural statement. Not a big fan of showy over-the-top memorials, either. I don't even like it when players scrawl messages on their shoes or eye black. As a one-off, it seems okay. My concern would be if this becomes an annual event - and hey, if it doesn't, then the cancer wins! - or if they follow baseball's lead and add powder blue accessories for prostate cancer. Because you're not pro-prostate cancer, are you?

Baseball is one thing. In a season of 162 games, taking one or three to honor various causes doesn't seriously dilute the teams' visual identity. But football clubs only take the field sixteen times in the regular season. Even a couple "special" games can damage a team's cohesive identity. There's a reason the NFL vetoed Seattle's home-and-road-helmet idea in 2002.

I'm all for raising awareness. Hand out ribbons, do stadium promotions, make public service spots with the players, have the clubs and league donate tons of money. Just be very careful about messing with the uniforms.

1 comment:

Tommy said...

In August, I was at a comic book store and saw some bizarre NFL Super Bowl comic book for $1. I should have bought it for that price, just for the humor purposes.