One Downside of the Pink Ribbon

Last Friday I extolled the many virtues of the pink ribbon. But the ‘open source’ nature of the pink ribbon ain’t all sweet yogurt and tasty lunch meats.

When everybody owns the ribbon nobody owns it and the result is that news coverage, like that at the left from NBC Nightly News on Sunday, October 17 ends up celebrating everything but the charity.

The piece leads with Washington Redskins Tight End Chris Cooley, whose mother Nancy was diagnosed with stage 3 breast cancer in 2008, and was treated with chemotherapy.

The reporter, Peter Alexander, covers Cooley's feelings, Nancy's stiff upper lip in the face of the disease, an effort led by Cooley and his wife, and some of Cooley's Redskins teammates to brighten the lives of women in the Washington, D.C. area recently diagnosed with breast cancer.

Alexander mentions that the National Breast Cancer Awareness Month is in its twenty-fifth year. We learn about the NFL being behind the pinkness in the pro football locker rooms, and Redskins Offensive Lineman Derrick Dockery whose mother and mother-in-law both faced breast cancer.

But conspicuous by its absence is any mention of the NFL’s partner in the promotion, the American Cancer Society. It’s a little getting a birthday gift in the mail that the postal carrier inadvertently delivers to your neighbor.

That’s one downside of the pink ribbon.

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