Cancer research is the smallest beneficiary of profits from the NFL's pink gear

A referee wears pink sweatbands to commemorate Breast Cancer Awareness Month. (Joe Mahoney/AP)

‘Think Pink’ looks a lot more like ‘Think Green’ when it comes to the NFL’s Breast Cancer Awareness initiative, thanks a report by Business Insider that was sparked by  a tweet from ESPN’s Darren Rovell.

The report, which examines how profits from the league’s pink merchandise sales are distributed, shows many beneficiaries, but shockingly, the American Cancer Society (ACS) is the smallest.

“For every $100 in pink merchandise sold, $12.50 goes to the NFL. Of that, $11.25 goes to the American Cancer Society (ACS) and the NFL keeps the rest. The remaining money is then divided up by the company that makes the merchandise (37.5%) and the company that sells the merchandise (50.0%), which is often the NFL and the individual teams.”

Therefore, for any pink merchandise purchased from the NFL's official site, the league gets 12.5 percent for royalties (11.25 percent of which they donate to the ACS), but the league then receives an additional 50 percent by being the vendor of the merchandise. So in actuality, the NFL is not donating 11.25 percent of their 12.5 percent, but rather 11.25 percent from their 62.5 percent (slightly less if the gear is bought from a sporting goods store like Sports Authority or Dick's Sporting Goods, who would divvy up the 50 percent with the league).

So while the NFL is parading out players with pink towels, cleats, armbands and tape onto a field emblazoned with pink ribbons and field goal post padding, know that the league is benefitting almost 500 percent as much from the merchandise fans buy than the ACS’s institute for cancer research.

Yes, the NFL is generating tremendous awareness that is instrumental in the fight against breast cancer, but if the league really wanted to make a statement, they would donate their profits to the ACS.