They boast that "a portion" of the proceeds from all of this gear benefits breast cancer research. So what's that portion, you ask? 75 percent? 50 percent? 30 percent?
Sorry, you all overbid. Try 10 percent or less.
That's right; the NFL collects untold millions each year from sales of pink this and pink that, and keeps 90 goddamn percent of it. Of course, they dress it up in such a way that it looks like they make almost nothing, but that takes some creative accounting. To hear them explain it, they donate 90 percent of all merchandise royalties to the American Cancer Society. Sounds great, except for that magical word "royalties" (instead of, say, "sales" or "profits").
According to Darren Rovell of ESPN, the NFL's modus operandi is to take a "25 percent royalty from the wholesale price (1/2 retail)". So if you buy a pink Tony Romo dishrag for $95, the NFL will take a quarter of half that price, or roughly $11.85, and donate a whopping $10.60 of it to the ACS. The rest goes to them.
The NFL doesn't dispute that, but claims that the remaining 80-some dollars they kept from the jersey didn't go into the pockets of the billionaires who own the teams. After all, they say, that money gets split among retailers, manufacturers, and the cost of running Crucial Catch. But here's the thing: since the vast majority of pink merchandise gets sold through the NFL (either at games or via their online shop), that makes them both the retailer and the merchandiser. And as far as running Crucial Catch goes, that's their campaign to promote the fucking merchandise. It's nothing but advertising for the women's section of their store.
Now add that some critics insist the 10 percent donation is actually more like 3 percent, and it kind of starts to look like the NFL just wanted a feel-good excuse to get women in on their merchandising bonanza. After all, it's not like they exactly have a great record when it comes to its treatment of women -- but more on that later.