Oregon Ducks Pink Helmets Completely Miss the Point

It’s become rather trendy in the recent past for teams to show their support for Breast Cancer Awareness and Research by pinkwashing everything in sight. Pink socks. Pink wristbands. Pink cleats. Pink shoes. Of course, to no one’s surprise, the Oregon Ducks have plans to take things to the next level in Saturday evening’s game against the Washington State Cougars.

As pictured below, the Ducks will be wearing pink chrome helmets, pink shoes and pink socks:

Oregon Ducks Pink Helmets

Oregon Ducks Pink Socks and Cleats

Image Courtesy – Oregon Ducks Facebook Page

While the basic gesture is understandable, showing support for women struggling with breast cancer, spending the amount of money that Nike spent on Oregon’s behalf and Oregon’s decision to pinkwash their uniforms for Week 8 are both misguided.

Why did Nike and Oregon see fit to spend money on creating all of this pink gear when the same money could have so much better been used if donated directly to causes and organizations that are making a demonstrative change in how breast cancer is approached, treated, and hopefully some day cured?

While Oregon reportedly is donating some money to certain charities based on the auction of the helmets, it’s a minor part of the big picture. Anymore the pinkwashing trend across sports, not just at Oregon, is starting to come off more like fashion statement and much less like a social statement. As per usual for the Ducks, flashing some pink during Saturday’s contest will be more about the swag factor than doing anything demonstrative to help the actual cause they purport to care so much about.

If teams are going to continue to wear pink — especially to the ridiculous level of these Oregon uniforms this weekend — they should also put some money where the swag is and support breast cancer research and associated causes directly. Otherwise, their statement falls flat and becomes more about fashion than action.

Swag over substance.

Kris Hughes is a Senior Writer and Business Analyst for Rant Sports.

You can follow Kris on TwitterGoogle Plus or Facebook.

Around the Web

  • http://www.rantsports.com/ncaa-football/author/tylerbrett Tyler Brett

    In their defense, they are auctioning off 25 of the helmets, including some signed by former Oregon players, and will donate that money to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund. While they could have cut out the middle-man and just had Knight write a big check, you could argue that the foundation will see more long-term benefit from the exposure and awareness raised by stuff like this. It’s a pretty fine line to walk though between swag and substance, though, I 100% agree.

    • Mark B.

      Nicely said :)

  • Bob Mackey

    Sorry Kris Hughes, but I think YOU completely miss the point. As your own article states, the pink helmets and accessories are worn to raise Breast Cancer AWARENESS. Anybody can write a check. For the NFL and these college teams to sport the color on the field sends a loud PINK message of support for those women either suffering from or have been lost to breast cancer. Besides, how much do you actually think it cost the Ducks to paints the helmets pink this week?? Most teams repaint their helmets after each game, so that they look brand new for the cameras on Saturday. Do yourself two favors today: 1) learn to appreciate there are other ways to boost awareness and show support besides simply signing a check, and 2) find a breast cancer survivor (or the family of someone that died from breast cancer) and get their opinion on all this pink. I personally think it is money well spent.

  • Scoop003

    I’d have to agree with the commenters below. I think you’ve completely missed the point. You can raise much more awareness than by having the #2 team in the country make as loud of a statement as Oregon is making with these uniforms. People like you, who most weeks probably aren’t even thinking about Oregon football, are talking about these uniforms. They haven’t even set foot on the football field and they’ve already raised awareness for the issue. Then, to top it all off, they’re auctioning off 25 of these bad boys to donate to a foundation that does cancer research. So not only are they increasing awareness, they’re also supporting research. I’m sorry, but you’re way off base on this one.

  • Northrivers

    Phil Knight donated $100 million to Oregon Health Sciences University in 2008 for cancer research and is donating another $500 million to OHSU if they can match that amount in the next 2 years. I’d say Nike and Uncle Phil have been doing their part to “write the check” for cancer research. The pink gear is a great way to raise awareness.

    • Guest

      Nicely said :)
      Kris should do a little more research before he writes a article. :P

  • Ralph

    Wow, this is a really ignorant article. Phil Knight has donated a ton of money to cancer research already. And the intention of the helmets is to raise awareness, so maybe a kid in the stands will ask his parents why the pink helmets and the parents will explain to the kid that there is a terrible disease that people are trying to fight. The object is to create awareness. This is such a dumb article I can’t even believe it. How do you get to be a “senior writer” with such inane commentary.