Monday, October 21, 2013


Last October, a friend I know through social media and have since met in real life was telling me about her son.  They were on a mini road trip.  They passed a vehicle with one of those pink magnets on the back.  The (then nine year old) announced to his mother, that this whole gig was all about having swag.  Of course, she shared the story with me and I have wanted to write about the fact that even young boys understand the ribbon is over-hyped.

His mom did the honors of sharing a conversation she had with both of her sons as the pink haze continues to cloak the globe.

Hey Look. More Breast Cancer Awareness Swag

When you're a 10-year-old boy, the world often seems to have the most clarity it ever will. And your wisdom is beyond your years.

A young man I'm very familiar with has a unique perspective on what he considers "swag." You know, the freebies. The stuff that's given out to make you remember a brand and then use it to impress your friends. In this case, the brand is breast cancer.

His latest observations focus on the NFL's use of hot pink accessories like pink wrist bands, pink cleats, pink towels, and pink padding on the goal posts. In his view, this physical swag leads to an attitude of swag, and that's what bothers him.

"They are overusing it because now it doesn’t really mean anything. They are just trying to look cool. They wear it because boys don’t usually wear pink and so they wear it to look swag. Plus it’s free and it’s cool to not have to pay for it. At least I think it’s free. Is it?"

This led to estimates. He thought a thousand or so, but after discussion, agreed with his brother that each NFL team probably spends $500,000 for breast cancer awareness swag.

(Who actually knows the amount? And who actually pays?)

"They should only use the symbol on the field. The more stuff the players wear, the more swag they think they have."

So … why does the NFL do it?

"I think they're trying to tell people if they think they have breast cancer, they can ask a doctor about it. But that doesn’t work because people don’t know what all the pink is for."

Not so says older brother: "It saved one life. The NFL had an ad, and a lady was watching football with her husband and didn’t know what all the pink was about. Her husband told her, she went to the doctor, and she had breast cancer."

He continues, "I think that pink awareness stuff is overused and now people just use it to get more sales. Like Nike has breast cancer awareness Elite socks. Kids buy them because they look cool, but they don’t care about the breast cancer."

So how can the breast cancer advocates actually make a difference?

“By educating the public on the matter," he says. " I would have announcers talk about it during the game because everybody likes the announcers and they would actually listen to them. Symptoms, risk factors, and tell people to go to the doctor. And that would actually save peoples' lives.”

His brother agrees. “During all the football games, they should have commercials saying 'these are some symptoms of breast cancer and if you’ve noticed any of these things happening, go to your doctor and ask him about it.'”

Pink Nike Elite socks don’t save lives. They just look cool.

(If a ten year old boy has pink fatigue and is overly aware, isn't it time to turn.  Peel back the pink, tell the truth so we can move forward.  The status quo ain't really working for me any more.)

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1 comment:

  1. I watched a football game yesterday and there was no pink. At least none that I was aware of. Last year there was too much pink. And it was the wrong shade. I guess that is why I noticed the lack of pink yesterday. However, there were no breast cancer awareness commercials or announcements. Now that's a good idea!


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