1 in 8 Ladies Will Develop Breast Cancer in Her Lifetime – UPDATE

The NFL heavily promoted their Breast Cancer Awareness campaign, but what did it add up to other than coaches and officials wearing pink ribbons?

One of their highly touted initiatives was the use of the special pink towels by the players in games on October 7. From the press release, Pink Gatorade Towels: Players will use special-edition pink Gatorade towels on the sidelines during the games. Players will autograph these towels and other pink merchandise, which will be put up for bid on NFL Auction, with proceeds going to breast cancer organizations.”

And this was the picture on NFL Auctions all month -

But where were the items? All month I waited to see what went up. You know what was auctioned off? Two towels. Two. A Peyton Manning signed towel and a Vince Young signed towel.

Two. Towels.

Now, I don’t want to accuse the League of window dressing and lip service, but in researching exactly what each team was doing for Breast Cancer Awareness Month (The word “awareness” always infuriates me, who is not “aware” by now?) at least a dozen or so teams mentioned this auction. So what happened? Where are the rest of the items? Isn’t fundraising just as important – if not more so – than making sure all the refs are wearing pink wristbands? I took that screenshot on Monday and yesterday the pink ribbon was taken down. So was it really all a bunch of hype for very little?

UPDATE: Overnight NFL Auctions finally put more items up for bid.  Check out our post here for a full listing.  Thanks to SportsbyBrooks, Deadspin, Dan Shanoff, and MJD at the Fanhouse for helping spread the word yesterday. 

Each team also participated to varying levels with a few glaring omissions. (We know Brady and Belichick are all about the boobies, so the Pats not even doing anything with their cheerleaders or with the ZTA sorority this season is shocking.) Let’s look at the complete rundown.

Arizona Cardinals – Cheerleaders collected donations at game.

Atlanta Falcons – Gave away Delta Luggage tags with pink ribbons, collected donations at a game, and the cheerleaders wore pink tops for Monday Night Football.

Baltimore Ravens – Handed out pink ribbon temporary tattoos and featured one of the cheerleaders who is studying cancer research at Johns Hopkins.

Buffalo Bills – Selling The Billieve items

Carolina Panthers – Nothing found, but Jake Delhomme recorded the league’s breast cancer PSA. (I can think of several Ladies who would be upset if David Carr did not care about the boobies.)

Chicago Bears – Nothing in the current season, but the Bear Care gala raised $650,000 to support breast and ovarian cancer research and treatment over the summer.

Cincinnati Bengals – Participates in the Real Men Wear Pink drive. Also hosted a special Girls Night Out for cancer survivors.

Cleveland Browns – Gave out pink ribbons with ZTA and hosted the One Dollar One Cause donation drive at a game.

Dallas Cowboys – Team site says they sponsor the local Race for a Cure, but cannot find anything on the local page. Bradie James runs the Soul Survivor program through his 56 Foundation which is geared to providing screening in communities with inadequate health care.

Denver Broncos – The Bronco Cheerleaders were very involved with the Race for the Cure through Team Lisa named after a former cheerleader who was diagnosed with breast cancer.

Detroit Lions – Nothing found for 2007

Green Bay Packers – Nothing found, but obviously Deanne Favre is a high-profile spokeswoman for the cause.

Houston Texans – The Texans’ web site mentions the pink towels being sold on NFL Auctions, but no Texans towels were to be found. Owner Bob McNair has donated to Baylor Hospital in the past.

Indianapolis Colts – ZTA to give away pink ribbons and T-shirt sales on the concourse.

Jacksonville Jaguars – Nothing found. (Cancer takes a backseat to regional blackouts, I am sure.)

Kansas City Chiefs – Good Lord, where to start. Special Jazzercise show at halftime, mirror decals in all of the ladies rooms talking about the importance of self-examination, sold special hats and t-shirts, and handed out pink spirit bands at a game, among many other activities.

Miami Dolphins – Wives and girlfriends of Dolphins players, coaches, and staff passed out ribbons at the Oct 21 game. Selling t-shirts in their shop.

Minnesota Vikings – At the October 28 game, there will be a special Cheerleader for a day event that allows young women to perform in the halftime show. Part of the fee to participate is going to the Susan G. Koman Breast Cancer Foundation.

New England Patriots – Nothing found for 2007. Foundation is involved with Dana-Farber Cancer Institute.

New Orleans Saints - Honered Saints’ LB Scott Fujita’s mother, a two-time breast cancer survivor. Owner/Executive Vice-President Rita Benson LeBlanc was the honorary chair for the New Orleans Race for the cure.

NY Giants – The Giants paired up with the Breast Cancer Task Force to sell special hats and ribbons which benefits facilities that provide free breast cancer surgeries and screenings to underserved and uninsured women.

NY Jets – Nothing found.

Oakland Raiders – Cap sales for The Friends of Faith, a local charity they supported in the past that provides emergency funds to low-income women diagnosed with breast cancer.

Philadelphia Eagles – Over the past few years the Eagles’ Tackling Breast Cancer drive has raised over $750,000 for breast cancer treatment and research. Also partnered with Papa Johns for special deals that will help raise funds, handing out pink ribbons at games in October and November, and the cheerleaders had special pink poms for the October 21 game.

Pittsburgh Steelers – Highlighted Alan and Julie Faneca’s involvement with Glimmer of Hope and Max Starks’ “Hot Pink Pittsburgh” event that raises funds to provide breast cancer and cervival cancer screening for uninsured women. The team also did an field check presentation for the Race for the Cure and sold a Steelers T-Shirt

San Diego Chargers – Hat sales.

San Francisco 49ers – The Race for the Cure is on their calendar, but there are no details listed. (Other drives have full write ups.)

Seattle Seahawks – Had a Rock Paper Scissors tourney in the spring that benefited the Susan G. Komen Breast Cancer. (No information available for 2007, but the Sea Gals did some publicity and appearance in 2006.)

St. Louis Rams – Held Bring a Buck donation drive and honored 100 breast cancer survivors.

Tampa Bay Buccaneers – Nothing on their site other than the pink ribbon on their banner, but some digging in Google led to a page where you can donate and vote for the cheerleader with the prettiest eyes. Will pass out ribbons with ZTA.

Tennessee Titans – ZTA Ribbons and on field recognition.

Washington Redskins – Think Pink ribbons given out with ZTA.

And you read that title correctly. The American Cancer Society Estimates that 1 in 8 women will develop breast cancer in their lifetime.

Eight Ladies. 16 breasts.

72 thoughts on “1 in 8 Ladies Will Develop Breast Cancer in Her Lifetime – UPDATE

  1. The Eagles really do make a big deal about breast cancer research, and have done so for several seasons now. The collaboration with Papa John’s is pretty creative, I just wish the Iggles would’ve gotten together with a better pizza place.

  2. 1 in 8. That’s scary.

    I think to some degree all that pink wristbands/bats/sticks/ribbons/whatever is window dressing. It’s like society pressures these high power sports leagues into donating to/caring about charitable causes, but really the big wig suits who are the powers that be don’t give a shit. They just wanna go home and count their money. Yes, I am cynical.

  3. I think lip service pretty well covers it. We can have a tremendously expensive game in London that nobody wants, but we can’t have a serious campaign against breast cancer (because now that I’m FULLY AWARE of it, I believe I’m going to go out on a limb and be AGAINST it).

  4. As somebody whose mother was just diagnosed with breast cancer, I have to say that a campaign like this should obviously be an ongoing process, not just trotting people out at half-time when a quarter of the stadium may be paying attention or handing out swag that will likely find its way into a wastebin by the end of the day.

    While every bit certainly helps (even for those who are just going through the motions b/c it may be a league-wide mandate), the league could actually have the biggest impact of all on getting the word out considering its status as the most popular sport in the country.

  5. The Jets don’t care about my boobs!

    I just wish the Iggles would’ve gotten together with a better pizza place.

    Clare: it could’ve been worse – it could’ve been Domino’s. Talk about your hot circles of garbage.

  6. I have to agree with beingsven. The ribbons, pins, bracelets, etc just find their way into a rubbish bin by the end of the day. Which means it’s a waste of money. Wouldn’t a donation to a breast cancer charity for what all of the freebes cost be a better way of making a difference?

  7. And, I forgot to add, I’m ashamed of the Lions. Nothing? You do nothing at all? With the Barbara Ann Karmanos Institute steps from the stadium you do nothing??!! Mr. Ford, you should be ashamed of yourself.

  8. “Clare: it could’ve been worse – it could’ve been Domino’s. Talk about your hot circles of garbage.”

    Awesome, Metschick is a fan of The Office. What’s scary is that Michael Scott put more thought into his “Michael Scott’s Dunder Mifflin Scranton Meredith Palmer Memorial Celebrity Rabies Awareness Pro-Am Fun Run Race for the Cure” than a lot of teams for something, you know, that’s serious.

  9. It’s not surprising that the Lions have nothing to support breast cancer. I’m sure Kitna has convinced them all that God will take care of the problem.

    But I’m sorely disappointed in the rest of the League here. A mere association with Breast Cancer organizations and slapping a couple of trendy wrist bands (hello “Live Strong” anyone?) on people in the stadium seems hardly a devotion to the cause. Hell, Michael Strahan went to some kid’s school to help the little dork boost his self-esteem amongst the classmates who were most likely stealing his lunch money every day.

    Couldn’t Tom Brady or David Carr have flashed their perfectly capped and pearly whites at a cancer ward and given loving, warm embraces to breast cancer survivors? (Though, I do concede there is the real danger that if Tom Brady comes within arms length of a woman he could potentially impregnate them.)

    I bet they pay far more attention to “National Handwashing Awareness Week” (Dec. 2nd to Dec. 8th).

  10. Holly – yeah, but a good deal of that is concentrated southward. Jacksonville is not the place to look unless it happens to be the weekend of the Georgia-Florida game. Still disappointing.

    Well, at least the Broncos cheerleaders got involved.

  11. I was trying to avoid bringing the Panthers Cheerleaders into this. (Mainly because I couldn’t find a good enough joke to tie them into my diatribe.)

  12. Given the Lions track record over the half century, perhaps doing nothing was their way of trying to help in the most effective way they knew how, by staying out of the way.

    I do know that the Lions, through the Detroit Lions Foundation, have made contributions to the Stefanie Spielman Fund for Breast Cancer Research in the past. I hope it’s in the works to do it again in 2007.

  13. I merely think, Yostal, that during the month of October, when the entire NFL is stating that they’re actively promoting awareness, that the Lions have the responsibility to do something. Even if it is stating that the Foundation contributes. While it is par for the course for the Lions’ owners, I still find it shameful.

    Just one more reason, when asked, to kick dirt and mumble “I’m a Lions fan.”

  14. I’d rather they not do anything at all then trot out some half-assed campaign that seems more like it’s intended as bullshit PR than it is any actual effort. Stick with the United Way, guys.

    I say this as someone whose sister just finished her last radiation treatments for breast cancer in August.

  15. You’d be hard pressed to find someone who hasn’t been affected. I lost both grandmothers to breast cancer, and my mom’s a survivor as well. Seriously, NFL? Just send the money where it can do good. You can all afford it.

  16. Holly – Agreed.

    And I am with Precious Roy. I’d rather see nothing at all rather than something half-baked. Which is why the the “two towels” kills me. What happened to the rest of them?

  17. I was at the Tampa Bay-Tennessee game two weeks ago, and during the team introductions, there were breast cancer survivors (including my mom) who ran out with the cheerleaders and waved flags to greet the players. I don’t know about the other ladies, but my mom got a kick out of it.

    (Oh, and I got a pink ribbon from a ZTA outside the stadium too.)

  18. Maggie,

    I agree. But really, are we shocked that the Lions weren’t on top of a PR situation, even a top down one. I’m going to send a couple of emails, try and see if it’s just ineptitude, or if there is something in the works.

  19. @ Roy – Good point! I whole-heartedly agree that all this nonsensical P.R. shit is really stupid. If you contribute to a charity on a yearly basis, but provide no other physical presence or support (like they do with the United Way), why get involved and make the issue seem trivialized?

    Ugh. What a senseless waste of time by the League on a serious subject matter. I kind of wish they had embraced National Hand Washing Awareness Week, instead.

  20. i agree there should be more breast awareness. i think a halftime feature devoted exclusively to breasts would be a good place to start. or maybe like a bar devoted exclusively to breasts, where people could come and make charitable donations and raise their breast consciousness or something. just throwing it out there

  21. I saw your comments for breast cancer awareness month. Because of Julie and Alan Faneca’s #66 Pittsburgh Steelers we are funding an under 40 breast cancer study which is the only one of its kind in the country.
    Here is my website and thank you for the information.
    http://www.breastcure.com
    800-454-6746

  22. @lt.winslow- That sounds suspiciously like the Korova Milkbar from “A Clockwork Orange”. Which isn’t a bad thing.

  23. A really interesting thread here so far… as I’m one of those who has been involved directly… there’s a big lack of information here as well.
    Thx for all those interesting comments.

  24. It is kind of strange that 1 kind of cancer (breast) has become more of an important and driving factor than the others (lung, prostate, ovarian, colon etc.) for fundraisers and awareness. I assume curing one will lead to curing the others so it’s probably not that big of a deal, but it is interesting. Maybe it’s more of an indictment of the laziness of men and our unwillingness to help smokers.

  25. For shame NFL. No one would hate you if you donated $1 million and that’s it. In fact, you’d be cheered for it. Instead you brought out this sorry ass excuse for awareness.

  26. during the team introductions, there were breast cancer survivors (including my mom) who ran out with the cheerleaders and waved flags to greet the players. I don’t know about the other ladies, but my mom got a kick out of it.

    I agree with what you all are saying about the NFL and its teams just donating the money to charity (for a cure, for helping poor/underinsured/uninsured women have better access to detection methods, for wigs, what have you), but I also wish all the teams did stuff like that above. Grimey’s mom had a blast, and I’m sure most others would to.

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  28. NJ Jets have nothing to say because the harsh reality that new jersey has one of the highest death rates of breast cancer. Maybe the topic is too close to home.
    For someone as myself who is on lifelong chemotherapy and a 2 year old child, sarcastic comments don’t bother me, and “i’m sick of pink” complaining will not help me survive. Only research gives me hope. So donate to an org that is investing in finding a solution to this problem. Instead of complaining about the manner inwhich money for research is being made.

  29. A mist my other mature rantings I attempted to get a book club going surrounding Dr. Susan Love’s Breast Book. It is a fun read that spans the spectrum of the Breast- Infections, Nipple Problems, Precancerous Conditions, Fears, Feelings and How to Cope, Surgery etc.. The medical illustrations are lovely. I was disappointed to not have gotten a single response. I am beginning to think that unless a person is actually going through the challenge of Breast Cancer they are unlikely to pick up a 600 page book for couch reading… and who in their right mind is going to listen to a recommendation from a stripper? All I can do is keep offering.

  30. If you want a realistic view of this, then next time you are in a restaurant, look around to count how many woman are there. Now…divide by 8. In that room alone, that is the number of women that breast cancer will/has touched….AND…if you are a woman…dont forget to include yourself in that count.

    Also…I think that the lack of support comes from the NFL not seeing women as a viable market. When you want to market to people, then you make sure you support the things that are important to them. Perhaps, we should take the time to assure them that we are a market audience and DONT appreciate their lack of support. After all, they have a website and/or postal address. Are your boobs (or boobs you love!) worth a moment of time and / or a stamp?~~Dee

  31. It’s not obvious, but if you do enough googling and searching, you’ll realize that the NY Jets have an organization called Jets Women that annually participate in Breast Cancer Awareness programs. Just wanted to throw that out…

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  35. Well, at least the Bears were involved in a fundraiser that raised about $ 650,000 !! Someone seems to be trying to do their part.

    Oh wait, the 2 towels went for $330,000 each….so there! :-(

  36. @TSW – so thats like, what? A net loss?

    Jesus Christ. Thanks for pointing this out. Myself, and I assume many others, just blindly took all the campaigning to mean that there were actions in the background. Glad to see the truth.

  37. TheStarterWife – I stand corrected. I knew they did it several years ago as an annual thing and I am surprised it is not mentioned for this year.

  38. The thing that pisses me off about all these “fundraisers” is that, if all the millionaire NFL people gave 1% of their income to the cause of the day, they’d A) get a boatload more money much faster, and B) actually be truthful when they say that _they_ raised millions of dollars.

    I hat it when groups, lets say the Philadelphia Eagles, cause that’s my (crappy) team, claim that their drive has raised $750,000 dollars. In reality, the truth is they got fans to pony up $750,000 over several years. Wouldn’t it have been easier to ask the millionaire player to donate a small percentage, and then, really mean it when they say the Eagles raised money- and they’d probably have a lot more money raised.

    Why do the rich companies and individuals constantly ask the public (with an ever decreasing middle class) to give, and give and give.

    Oh… “superstar Bla Bla _donated_her_time_ to come and sing at the charity concert that raised $50,000.” Hey, she blows $50,000 on a weekend party. Maybe she should have donated $100,000 and left us enough spare change to give our kids some water ice this weekend.

  39. Not to get liberal nerdy, or anything, but the whole Pink Ribbon thing is a bit of a scam launched by the pharmaceuticals who profit off of it. Breast Cancer is a scourge, the medicines are necessary, but they’ve very purposefully put an emphasis on treating the disease, surviving the disease, and made sure not to make it a campaign to ask why breast cancer rates have been skyrocketing over the past 50 years or so.

    Jim Hightower thinks he knows why, and it may be the waste of the very same parent companies who are funding Pink Ribbon marches.

    From one Book Review:
    “Debunking Breast Cancer Awareness Month is certainly novel: Who could be against Breast Cancer Awareness? Try finding out that Breast Cancer Awareness Month has been sponsored since its inception by Imperial Chemical Industries, one of the world’s largest producers of organochlorines. Organochlorines? Increasingly suspected as a cause of breast cancer? Yup, the same. Every poster, pamphlet, and advertisement used for Breast Cancer Awareness Month all these years has been approved, or vetoed, by Imperial Chemical Industries. Hightower, a great pursuer of corporate connections, also finds that one of Imperial’s corporate offspring manufactures a highly controversial drug that is the leading treatment for breast cancer, despite its serious side effects. They get you coming, and they get you going.”

    http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_m1316/is_n1_v30/ai_20239565

    So there you go. Wear the pink, support the cause, yeah, but don’t forget about the environmental factors that cause breast cancer, and who wants you to forget about them.

  40. BBM – I am as paranoid as you are about Big Pharma (all you have to do is look at the news today that links ALARMING rates of artery plaque to birth control pills) but there are so many factors that can go into the root cause of breast cancer. (Try having this discussion on Long Island where breast cancer rates are off the charts but both environment and being apart of particular ethnic populations could both equally be triggering factor.)

  41. “Breast Cancer is a scourge, the medicines are necessary, but they’ve very purposefully put an emphasis on treating the disease, surviving the disease, and made sure not to make it a campaign to ask why breast cancer rates have been skyrocketing over the past 50 years or so.”

    I’m not a big fan of pharmaceuticals but let’s be realistic. Cancer is a multifactorial disease. There isn’t just one cause to it. Pharmaceuticals aren’t researching why rates of breast cancer have increased because that’s not their job. If you want that type of information look toward academic hospitals/institutions at that type of information.

    Besides, one could blame the increased rates of breast cancer on this country’s fairly high red meat consumption, less women breastfeeding, women delaying pregnancy etc. These are a just a few of the many factors that can increase a woman’s risk for breast cancer and guess what, they are mediated by the environment, just people’s personal choices (Not in any way blaming a breast cancer patient for their disease, just pointing out that these situations are complex, and trying to associate a clear link between something like the environment and breast cancer is really tough).

    Let’s not forget that life expectancy on average has been INCREASING even through cancer rates have increased so things aren’t that bleak.

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