The NFL Strongly Opposes Domestic Violence: Now Please Buy This Pink Ray Rice Jersey
Yep, apparently this item is still for sale over at the NFL store. I'd pick up several while they last.
— chris(topher) (@chrishpeak) September 8, 2014
I'm not even sure if the above jersey is part of the NFL's "A Great Catch" campaign, but let's discuss that anyway. "A Great Catch" is a useful PR tool -- helping to enhance the league's image, draw in the much-coveted female demographic, and helping to fight breast cancer. But when the campaign begins its sixth season in the NFL next month, it's now going to serve as a giant, pink spotlight on the way Roger Goodell let women down in the Ray Rice domestic abuse fiasco, and the dozens of other domestic abuse cases during his watch.
Call it the NFL's Awkward October.
— Will McAvoy (@WillMcAvoyACN) September 8, 2014
There's already controversy over the NFL's reasons for its breast cancer awareness month: including the fact that only $3.54 of every $100 collected actually goes toward cancer research. In our story on this last year, we told you how the NFL is guilty of “pinkwashing”: exploiting a good cause for its own benefit. According to Business Insider, the NFL is keeping approximately 90 percent of money from sales of Breast Cancer Awareness gear, like that jersey above. And of the money that the American Cancer Society does receive, less than 80 percent of that goes toward actual research.
When we contacted the NFL’s online shop for clarification, we were told 5% of the sales are being donated to the American Cancer Society. If the pink products have a typical 100% mark-up at retail, that means the NFL is keeping 90% of the profit from the sale of Breast Cancer Awareness gear.
And then consider that only 70.8% of money the ACS receives goes towards research and cancer programs. So, for every $100 in sales of pink gear, only $3.54 is going towards research while the NFL is keeping approximately $45 (based on 100% mark-up).
(The NFL says that it does not profit from the sales of pink merchandise: the $45 of every $100 made, it says, goes toward the cost of running Breast Cancer Awareness Month. But is that from auctioned game-worn merchandise, or all apparel merchandise? That’s still unclear).
The bottom line: The league hardly donates much toward breast cancer. The campaign raised a combined $4.5 million during its first four years (2009-2012), including $1.5 million in 2012. League-wide revenues approached $8 billion in 2009, when NFL teams earned a median profit of $28.6 million, according to The Economics of the National Football League, a 2012 book edited by Kevin G. Quinn. (The NFL says it plans to donate $23 million to all community causes this year — less than one percent of its likely revenues).
So there's that. The NFL may be naively thinking that, if they can just make it until October without the roof caving in, that all that pink will soothe the angry masses. But we think the exact opposite will occur. Pink is the new red, enraging the bull and highlighting Goodell's failures toward women. It's gonna be a very awkward month.
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