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11-Year-Old Convinces NFL Commissioner to Change Penalty Flags to Pink

I know there are a lot of mixed feelings out there about the “pinkwashing” of October. But there’s something about seeing big, tough professional football players in pink cleats that makes me smile. I love awareness programs that get people talking, and getting men to talk about breast cancer is a positive thing.

Apparently the NFL’s breast cancer awareness and fundraising campaign, A Crucial Catch, also gets the attention of boys, and not in a “Bevis and Butthead” way, either.

Eleven-year-old Dante Cano of Marlboro, New Jersey, thought the NFL could be doing more.

While watching the October 11 Giants-Browns game at home with his dad, Dante thought there was room for improvement in the NFL’s use of pink.

“It seemed that every little thing was pink — like cleats and gloves — but they’re not major things,” Dante told the Star-Ledger. “So I thought about it after a couple of penalties: The flag is more important to the game, and everyone looks at it. It can afford for its color to be changed, too.”

Dante decided to write a letter to NFL Commissioner Roger Goodell. He wrote the letter, Googled the address, and addressed the envelope.

“I just handed him a stamp,” Dante’s mom, Laura Cano, said.

Commissioner Goodell received Dante’s letter, and agreed with him.

“Dante had a great idea and I am looking forward to meeting with him on Sunday to put it into action,” Commissioner Goodell said in a press release. “Sometimes the simplest ideas can be the best. I applaud Dante for sending in his recommendation.”

The Cano family has been invited to MetLife Stadium for this Sunday’s Jets-Dolphins game, where the pink penalty flags will be used. The family will present the flags to the officials prior to the game.

Mrs. Cano told the Star-Ledger that fortunately their family hasn’t been touched by breast cancer. However, Dante is aware of more medical issues than most kids, because his older sister has a rare genetic disorder called Aicardi Syndrome.  Dante helps feed, medicate, and comfort his sister, his mom told the newspaper.

The pink gear and uniforms used by NFL players and officials are auctioned to raise money for the American Cancer Society’s Community Health Advocates National Grants for Empowerment (CHANGE), which funds outreach and breast cancer screenings.

Read more from Joslyn at Babble Pets and at her blog, stark. raving. mad. mommy. You can also follow her on Facebook and Twitter.

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