While watching football in October, you may notice a common theme between team’s uniforms. Most, if not all players are wearing some form of pink.
This tradition began when the defensive end of the New York Jets received a letter from NFL commissioner Roger Goodell.
At the time, Still’s daughter was battling a Stage 4 neuroblastoma and the letter offered support to the family.
Still responded to the original letter and asked for Goodell to consider adding a tradition to the league in order to raise cancer awareness.
The NFL player then went on to give an example of having a tribute in October for breast cancer awareness month. The request worked and since 2009, players have been wearing pink outfits during games in October. This is in the hopes that it will raise awareness to breast cancer research and screenings.
Teams now have the option to also support other cancers, “such as prostate or colorectal cancer” says Sports Illustrated. They can pick more than one cancer to bring awareness to during the season.
It's officially October and that means the start of Breast Cancer Awareness Month, which the NFL has become known for. The NFL will be dialing back a bit this year. This has nothing to do with the recent domestic violence issues that have been in the news. The league had already planned to soft-pedal the pink months ago. There'll still be some pink, but not as much. // #BreastCancer #BreastCancerAwareness #BreastCancerAwarenessMonth #NFLBreastCancerAwareness #Pink #NFL #Football
Currently, the NFL has also started the “My Cause, My Cleats” campaign which allows the players to wear customized cleats supporting the charity of their choice.
— Geoffrey C. Arnold (@geoffreyCarnold) December 1, 2016
Their initiative has helped the selected organizations. During the eight-year span of selling pink merchandise as well as a series of other money-raising efforts, the NFL raised $15 million for the American Cancer Society. However, the help does not stop there. They also gave $50,000 grants to underserved communities in 32 different NFL cities to help “provide education, outreach and low or no-cost screenings to high-need areas.”
For other charities that are picked during this 2017 season, the NFL will follow the same money-raising model. They are launching a free NFL tool that will help people to schedule screenings and find doctors.
The NFL’s ongoing efforts can only continue to help those in need.
Sarah is a Hufflepuff living in NYC. When she is not traveling or talking to random animals, she is working as a scriptwriter. Tweet her at @lumpyspacederp