In a world where it is socially acceptable to do the wrong thing in the name of publicity, power and greed; I was pleasantly surprised to see an organization do something right. I am referring to the NFLís public support for breast cancer awareness.†

October is National Breast Cancer Awareness Month.† Many individuals and organizations wear their pink ribbons in support of this great cause. Every effort that is made to increase awareness never goes unnoticed. However, when an organization like the National Football League goes out of their way to prove that real men wear pink, I find it worth mentioning.

Pink is not an aggressive color. As a matter of fact, I canít think of a single professional team that has adopted pink as a team color. That is what makes this gesture so special. Football is one of the few things we have left that at its core is purely masculine. It was amazing to see these huge football players playing this extremely violent, intense, and highly aggressive game wearing pink. (Excuse my adjectives I just donít know how else to describe a sport whose protective equipment weighs more then me.) From helmet to cleat, these guys were decked out in bright pink and the message came across loud and clear.†††

The campaign is called ďA Crucial CatchĒ and the American Cancer Society has teamed up with the NFL to increase awareness about early detection and to encourage all women, especially those over 40, to make time for annual mammograms.†

Each player had the opportunity to don pink cleats, wristbands and gloves.† Players were seen using pink towels and wearing pink ball caps on the sidelines.† Coaches were also spotted in pink caps along with the rest of the sideline personnel. Executives and owners sported pink pins and gave way to their fieldsí invasion of pink ribbon stencils and pink goal post padding along with the Crucial Catch banners that lined the stadium walls. Even the referees got into the action.

Breast cancer is not just a womanís disease. The American Cancer Society estimates approximately 2,000 new cases of breast cancer this year among men. This being said breast cancer has a far greater affect on men at an emotional level. Every woman that is diagnosed is a wife, sister, mother, daughter, or friend of a man who loves her and has to watch her fight the disease. So it really isnít that surprising that all 32 teams are participating throughout the month with special pre-game and half-time events. Representatives from each team will work alongside local organizations to spotlight breast cancer survivors and bring honor to those who have lost the battle.††

NFL partners are also on board to help out; Nike, Reebok, Adidas, Gatorade, Wilson, Under Armour, Cutters Gloves and McArthur Towel and Sports, all have decided to manufacture the pink merchandise. The apparel will later be auctioned off in support of the American Cancer Society. This is a combined effort from many organizations using their time and money in a positive way for the sole purpose of helping their fellow citizen.†††

I have always thought the NFL was a class act. Teaming up with the American Cancer Society to reach an audience they may not have been able to reach on their own only confirms that thought.

Of course, the pink helps.

Jackie Melvin is a Stephenville resident and occasional contributing writer to the Empire-