Over the last decade, the Oregon Ducks have made a name for themselves in FBS football through their high octane offense. However, the Ducks may be even more well known for their flashy uniforms. The green and yellow school colors have lent brilliantly to some rather imaginative and colorful uniform schemes over the years. It also doesn't hurt that Phil Knight, co-founder and chairman of Nike, is an Oregon native and attended the University of Oregon for his undergraduate degree.
This time, the Ducks have outdone themselves once again. In a partnership with Nike and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, the Oregon Ducks will be sporting neon pink helmets on the field this Saturday against the Washington State Cougars. While the school has worn pink many times during the month of October to promote breast cancer awareness, this will be the first time the school has worn pink helmets.
The Kay Yow Cancer Fund was established in 2007 by North Carolina State's women's head basketball coach, Kay Yow. Yow was diagnosed with breast cancer in 1987. She eventually succumbed to the cancer in 2009.
Head coach of the Oregon Ducks, Mark Helfrich, believes that his team is contributing to a great cause through wearing the pink helmets: “Cancer has touched so many lives and hopefully, together with Nike and the Kay Yow Cancer Fund, we can help create awareness and help raise money for the fight against women’s cancers. It is an honor to join Coach Yow’s team in a fight that unites us all.”
Many people agree with Helfrich and love the show of support from an entire football team and corporation such as Nike:
"It’s cool to see all the pink on the field to promote breast cancer awareness for the month of October, but when teams take it to a whole new level with things like this, it raises the bar for others who will follow suit. It should be required for teams to wear pink jerseys or pink helmets for at least one game in the month of October to promote the awareness of the disease that has taken the lives of millions.
Well done, Oregon. You’ve earned everyone’s respect," stated Connor Muldowney, of RantSports.com.
However, there are others who are more skeptical about the benefit and intention of the pink helmets:
"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," reported Kris Hughes, also of RantSports.com.
With the recent report being released by BusinessInsider.com stating that only 8% of money spent on the pink merchandise the NFL wears actually goes to cancer research, it's not surprising that some people may be cynical toward the effectiveness of teams continuing to wear pink. As Mr. Hughes spouts, perhaps teams should start donating money directly toward cancer research instead of donating these paltry sums garnered from wearing pink accessories. Granted, Oregon is going the extra mile by auctioning helmets off and donating those proceeds to the Kay Yow Cancer Fund as well.
Perhaps, though, the neon pink is all a part of Oregon's plans; Hell, if one was a Washington State player, one better believe those helmets would be awfully distracting.
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