It's October, so the NFL's reprehensible pinkwashing scam is back. Time for the league to pretend that it cares ever-so-much about breast cancer research in the hopes that you'll buy stuff and not look to hard at the actual numbers.
On the whole, the Packers' game against the 49ers was very good-looking. Two of the best-dressed teams in the NFL head-to-head in the bright California sunshine. And although everyone was wearing pink towels, overall the pinkwashing accessories didn't seem as ubiquitous as years past.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) runs during the NFL regular season game against the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 4, 2015 in Santa Clara, Calif. (Ric Tapia/NFL)Look at all those Braisher stripes! That's what an NFL matchup ought to look like.
There were some players, still taking it to the limit, though.
San Francisco 49ers wide receiver Bruce Ellington (10) is tackled during the NFL regular season game against the Green Bay Packers on Oct. 4, 2015 in Santa Clara, Calif. (Ric Tapia/NFL)It wasn't just the defense; running back Eddie Lacy also went for the pink-spats look.
Green Bay Packers running back Eddie Lacy (27) runs during the NFL regular season game against the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 4, 2015 in Santa Clara, Calif. (Ric Tapia/NFL)The stadium itself was decked out in pink, with banners bordering the field. You can make them out in the background of this photo:
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) throws during the NFL regular season game against the San Francisco 49ers on Oct. 4, 2015 in Santa Clara, Calif. (Ric Tapia/NFL)Even the security guards got into the act with pink shirts.
There is one difference this year - the standard shield-over-ribbon logo on the back of every helmet has been altered to include this year's golden-themed NFL shield.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers, left, celebrates with tight end Richard Rodgers after connecting for a 9-yard touchdown pass during the first half of an NFL football game against the San Francisco 49ers in Santa Clara, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 4, 2015. (AP Photo/Ben Margot)
But, of course, it's not really about the pink decal on the back of every helmet. It's not about the pink towels or the pink spats or the pink logo emblazoned on the field. It's about the pink-tinged merchandise they want you to buy.
You may have noticed Aaron Rodgers's pink-and-gray cap, shown prominently on the sidelines or after the game as he shook Colin Kaepernick's hand.
Green Bay Packers quarterback Aaron Rodgers (12) shakes hands with San Francisco 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick (7) during the NFL regular season game on Oct. 4, 2015 in Santa Clara, Calif. (Ric Tapia/NFL)carefully laid out for the players in their lockers. For this game, the equipment managers placed a gray-and-pink Packers cap in every locker.
And once you've seen it worn by your heroes on the field, the NFL made sure that you could buy that very same cap online.
This is all part of what they call "A Crucial Catch", their program of pink-emblazoned merchandise.
There are currently six hundred and twenty-nine "Crucial Catch" products available for sale. The most expensive is a field goal wrap from last year's Eagles/Rams game. That'll set you back a cool $499.95. But hey, free shipping.
The least expensive is a Chicago Bears "A Crucial Catch" bumper sticker. Perfect for your silver Corvette.
It's a depressing and cynical attempt to monetize good intentions. Sadly, our Packers aren't immune.
Not that they're no longer even making a pretense towards fundraising; the product descriptions are all about "raising awareness". Check out the product category for the Packers Pro Shop's pinky products:
It's particularly scummy and exploitative, and I'm sad that the Packers continue to be a part of it.