On Friday, the nation thanked and remembered its military veterans for their selfless service and sacrifice. Then, over the weekend, I was reminded of the NFL’s fraudulence.
First off, let me say that I fully approve of and encourage the support of cancer patients and veterans. These are extremely worthy, commendable and necessary endeavors.
At the same time, although the NFL claims to be participating wholeheartedly in this sort of work, their campaigns, like “Salute to Service,” ring hollow and inadequate upon further examination.
When I surf the channels on Sunday afternoons during this month of November, changing from football game to football game, the first thing I see is camouflage gear.
It’s awfully ironic, isn’t it? Camo is supposed to avoid being detected visually, but the NFL is so blatant about showcasing it that it’s all the eye picks up. From end zone paint to socks and wristbands, virtually everything within the realm of a football gamesomehow features a camo design.
Essentially, the NFL uses themes, colors, mantras and organizations associated with the military as a marketing ploy under the guise of charitable effort. Rightfully so, the armed forces and charitable groups are looked upon favorably and are deemed virtually untouchable, in general.
However, the deal brokered by the NFL to partner their product with these values and programs allows the league a chance to promote itself as an incubator of such worthy causes. By centering its brand around the military and high-profile charities by placing a ribbon behind its logo, the NFL is attempting to put up a virtuous front, while simultaneously covering up its scandals and flaws. This dissonance is enough to make the average fan question the league’s intentions.
Similarly, each October, the NFL decks itself out from head to toe in pink to raise awareness for breast cancer-related causes. But in reality, the NFL only uses these causes for public relations purposes while giving little back to the causes themselves.
The NFL is a thriving business. Its revenues are projected to surpass $13 billion in 2016 alone. However, since the aforementioned campaigns started several years ago, the football superpower has donated very little in comparison — just $15 million to the American Cancer Society and even less to foundations like the Wounded Warrior Project, Pat Tillman Foundation and USAA.
Additionally, if it isn’t October, NFL teams are not allowed to sport pink apparel, and the same goes for camo in November. If the NFL really cares about these causes, why not promote them all year round by permitting players to wear these colors?
Please, NFL, if you are actually serious about supporting worthy causes like veterans and cancer research, let your players wear pink and camo throughout the whole season if they wish, and actually donate the proceeds of these campaigns to the appropriate organizations. You can afford to do so, and really, to maintain any ounce of integrity or respectability you still have, you must do so.