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Burros Athletic Director Bans Pink Uniform Accents

Tackle football players for the Mokena Burros can no longer wear pink gear in honor of Breast Cancer Awareness Month.

For years, Mokena Burros youth football players have worn pink athletic gear during October games to honor breast cancer survivors.

And in the NFL, October is the season where the pros go pink. Every player wears pink shoes, pink socks, pink wrist-bands and more throughout Breast Cancer Awareness Month. Boys and men might not always be fond of pink; October is the exception.

But Mokena Burros Athletic Director Sal Della Fave says the young Burros who play tackle football can no longer wear pink. In an e-mail sent to Burros coaches on Oct. 1, Della Fave placed strict limitations on what tackle players can wear.

Della Fave distributed small, pink stickers to be affixed to helmets, in the bottom left corner.

"This is the only approved addition to our uniform," he wrote in an email to tackle coaches sent Oct. 1. "No other pink item is to be added to the uniform ie. socks, laces, duct tape etc. I am holding each of you accountable to ensure compliance."

Any other pink apparel or gear would be considered a distraction, he told a former Burros mom, who shared the e-mail with Patch. Team members wearing non-sanctioned pink clothing or equipment would be barred from participation.

The Burros mom says the Burros board of directors did not vote to approve Della Fave's new policy.

“We’re a board,” said a source on the board, who asked not to be named. “We’re supposed to make decisions together.”

Under Della Fave's new rules, tackle players are now limited to wearing stickers and a specific type of glove with pink accenting, which is permitted because it does not touch the uniform.

Sal Della Fave did not return Patch’s request for comment.

Burros flag football players and cheerleaders are still free to enhance their uniforms with pink accessories.

The Burros 2012 Handbook states that any player with altered equipment or equipment not issued by the Burros cannot participate in practices or games. The handbook also states that jersey alterations are not allowed.

In the past, this rule has largely been ignored. Two years ago, when Burros players began to alter their uniforms during October, the team’s former athletic director told parents he did not have a problem adding pink to the players' uniforms for October.

Breast cancer awareness apparel is becoming increasingly popular in both youth and high school athletics, no doubt inspired by the widespread visibility of NFL players sporting pink on Sunday afternoons.

The Burros mom told Patch she felt the Burros had always handled the breast cancer awareness apparel appropriately, and that there are ways to keep it from becoming a distraction.

“I had not heard one complaint, ever,” she said.

Read past coverage of the Mokena Burros on Patch.

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Football Fan October 11, 2012 at 07:15 PM
Doubtful. While we can choose not to re-elect one of the board, the Griffins would have to remove everyone in order for ANY Burro to switch.
KB October 11, 2012 at 07:41 PM
Unbelievable. These boys should be applauded for their desire to show their support and to bring visible awareness to this cancer, but are instead being given the message to keep their support quiet. I think we should organize a huge support base and show up at some games with pink balloons, and everything pink that we can. If the boys can't show their support, we can show ours.
Pretty in Pink October 11, 2012 at 07:55 PM
I'm going to play devil's advocate here. I suffer from a disease that is not cancer but just as nasty. It's not trendy, nor popular. There are no athletes wearing ANY color for my disease. By the way, I am female. There are times when I resent "pink" even though I know that is a non-productive emotion. I like the comment about donating. If the athletes are so into helping, then hold a fundraiser and support someone in the community who suffers from cancer or any other disease. That would be a great deal more helpful than just putting on pink socks. The coach probably should have thought this through and maybe allowed the socks but nothing else. I've seen it grow from a nice gesture to getting a little out of control with all the tape, gloves and other pink accessories. The youth football community is a caring one and I'm sure the parents and kids can come up with something to replace pink socks. How about all the proceeds from the split the pot be donated to cancer awareness from one week's worth of games?
Jen Gingerelli October 11, 2012 at 08:27 PM
Breast Cancer....trendy.....popular.....WOW seriously??????????
Michael Markham October 11, 2012 at 08:37 PM
Everyone will wear pink, and they will have to sit the whole team. Doesn't sound like that would happen.
reasonable October 11, 2012 at 08:54 PM
I'm doubtful on this also! Just because Sal made that decision ON HIS OWN does not ruin the whole league... and now that the board got wind of it and it and hopefully the parents are bringing it to their attention it will be taken care of properly. I am SURE the Jr. Griffins have made their fair share of mistakes this year and there are PLENTY of people unhappy and going BURROS next season so let's NOT start that battle again!
reasonable October 11, 2012 at 08:56 PM
Yes, well said! It's nice that the boys and men will wear pink and support this cause!
reasonable October 11, 2012 at 08:59 PM
I really think a coach should have each player AND COACH wear pink and see what Sal has to say to that!!! Is he going to bench a whole team and the coaches and tell a surrounding town... sorry we can't play you because our team is wearing pink?
Doesn't really matter what my name is.. October 11, 2012 at 08:59 PM
There are plenty of ways to support the awareness of this cause and your cause. NFL has elected to choose Breast Cancer awareness. But lets not get off topic about trendy and popular, this is about a A.D. not allow kids to express their views. Kids do not have cash to donate. As parents we should be TEACHING our kids why they are wearing the pink not just go buy them pink "stuff" to wear like the other kids or NFL players. The NFL has taken a critical thinking and active role in awareness campaigns. MLB does as well on Mother's day. Bottom line is this A.D. has taken it upon himself to prohibit kids from supporting a critical disease that does not have a prejudice. It attacks young and old, black and white, democrats and republicans. Maybe if he is wearing a BLUE Burros hat or jackets in support of his program I can ask him to leave my business. I am just saying.......
Dorothy October 11, 2012 at 09:05 PM
Sounds like someone is envious because "her" disease isn't getting all the publicity. I applaud ANY attempt for ANY advocacy for any disease.
Dorothy October 11, 2012 at 09:08 PM
I guess I should feel good that half my breast is gone by a trendy and popular disease.
Doesn't really matter what my name is.. October 11, 2012 at 11:05 PM
Back up your statements with facts. Read what you typed. It is ridiculous. So far the NFL has contributed 3 million to cancer research. Google Larry Fitzgerald and the story of what he is doing. If our kids can not call him an idol and us as parents teach them who to idolize and for what reasons then keep yours watching sponge bob.
PAUL RYAN October 11, 2012 at 11:33 PM
Sal......you are a BOOB!!!!
paul October 12, 2012 at 02:10 AM
I could not agree more. Is Breast Cancer the only Cancer? How about the other diseases? The Wear Pink marketing scheme was wonderful but it has overwhelmed every other disease awareness and become a gimick.
julie October 12, 2012 at 02:14 AM
What if all players showed up with PINK? Would he forfeit every game to make his point? I don't think he would. Take a stand Burros. Everyone wear pink and let's see if he can stop it. Former Mustang Mom
CV October 12, 2012 at 05:04 AM
Come on over to the jr. Griffins next yr. Im so impressed. My son played 2 yrs for the Frankfort wldcats where the coaches obviously had there own pact and agenda where there kids were autonatically starters regardless of talent level. the Griffins have like 20 kids on a team which means alot of play. The coaches are fair and they are not just out for their kids. Thanks jr. Griffins.
CV October 12, 2012 at 05:11 AM
One more thing mr. heimer and mr. bellenger. Brandon has had 12 touchdowns in 7 games in the river valley conference. Thanks for making me open my eyes. Its not about wins and losses for these kids. Its about play time. you r not coaching Lincoln way east. Lol. Chuck victor
Football Fan October 12, 2012 at 02:09 PM
Where at all in this article or comment section was there any mention of play time, coaches agenda's or wins and losses? Once again you start stirring the pot! This isn't about the Griffins! The issue is about not being able to wear pink to support Breast Cancer. Who cares about your kid scoring 12 touchdowns in 7 games? With such low enrollment it would stand to figure that all kids would have to play. Take your ball and go home, no one wants to play your game!
A Long Time Mokena Resident October 12, 2012 at 06:32 PM
Very doubtful. No one wants to go where the entire organization wins 2 games the entire season....and yes, I know it is not all about winning, but from what I have seen on You Tube, they are not being taught anything about the game either. The organization appears to be a joke, and my prediciton is that they won't even be around next year. Several families have asked to come back to the Burros mid-season this year!
Frankfurter October 13, 2012 at 12:01 AM
Best comment of all these: Sal is a Boob! Get the irony?
Dave October 15, 2012 at 05:49 PM
Here is a different topic...I am a football referee. I played football from 3rd grade to Junior year in college. I am having long term health issues due to the concussions I have received over the years. I see a lot of kids on the field who do not want to be there. They are playing football cause his/her parents want them to. Please take a step back and look at yourselves and your kids and re-evaluate this sport. I have have an 11 year old son and I am not allowing him to play cause of mine and several of my teammates health issues we are experiencing now. I had a great career and memories at Palos Stars, Marist and at Drake University but the issues I am having are long term with no cure. Again, I ref this sport and I see what goes on on the field. Next time when you see a football ref, ask him if they would let their kids play this sport. I bet most of them would say no. Please guide your kids and let your kids make their own decisions on which sport they play before it is too late.
momoftwo October 15, 2012 at 06:18 PM
Every story like this always gets people bringin up thins that have nothing to do with the article, and then wanting to start a fight with anyone that responds. This is about our boys not being able to support a cause. If Sal wants to go by the handbook, then why is he th only board member and coach that refuses to wear his board shirt or coaches shirt. Why is he above the rules of the organization?
David DeVos October 15, 2012 at 10:41 PM
It's unfortunate that someone in a position of power can make a decision that affects some of us so very deeply. It sounds as though Sal just doesn't recognize the fact that some of the players in his league have the hearts and minds to care deeply about the women in their lives. I commend the players that had the gumption to stand up for what they believe and am embarassed for Sal, even if he isn't, that such a small minded individual can feel so little about a subject that can mean so much to so many for one month of the year. If you ask me they should be able to wear pink the whole season to honor the strong and courageous women who give all of us so much and ask for so little in return.
pepper October 15, 2012 at 10:53 PM
Enough!!!cancer doesn't discriminate! thousands of MEN, WOMEN& CHILDREN will die this year from it this year! how about a universal "cancer awareness" color for everyone!
pepper October 16, 2012 at 01:25 PM
Doesn't really matter what my name is.. waaaaay too much time on your hands!
CV October 16, 2012 at 02:25 PM
OK longtime mokena resident. I just have to comment on your remarks. I sit 50 feet from every Lightweight practice and attend every game. Do your homework and have the facts on coach Dobrich and coach Asselborns experience at the coaching and playing level. They teach fundamentals and safety at all times. Our boys are having fun because they are playing alot and not sitting the bench. Yes wins and losses do not matter at this level. We play in a very tough River Valley Conference which includes Morris, Bourbanais, Frankfort, and New Lenox. You cannot expect a new organization to go 8 and 0 their first year. Or even 2 and 6. Who cares about wins and losses. They are learning the game!!! Most of our boys came from flag with only a few with tackle experience. You learn the game by practicing hard, and playing on Saturdays. It is OK to have more then one Mokena team. Other places have 2 so whats the big deal? My Son put it all in perspective for me after a tough overtime loss against Manhattan. I told him that I felt bad for him after that loss. He said, "Dad, I don't care if we lose, I'm playing this year and I'm having fun." GO GRIFFINS!!!!!! Longtime Frankfort Resident.
Shawn Russo October 16, 2012 at 05:57 PM
CV, no Jr Griffin team has scored 12 TD's all year. Nice to see you bragging bout your son scoring 12 himself. Congrats.
Anna Schier October 16, 2012 at 10:03 PM
CV, Your recent comment on Patch was deleted because it contained a personal attack. You are welcome to post a reworded version of the comment. Thanks, Anna
CV October 16, 2012 at 10:19 PM
Ok I have to reword this first sentence. Im not bragging about my sons rebuilt confidence that the wildcats daddy ball teams attempted to take away from him for two yrs. My posts are directed to their organization which has lost several players. And im gonna stand corrected. It was 5 tds he scored in the 3 jamboree games and 8 tds in the regular season 8 games. Sorry my match was wrong.
FYI October 19, 2012 at 09:25 PM
http://southtownstar.suntimes.com/news/15792721-418/pink-clad-youth-football-teams-get-it-when-it-comes-to-breast-cancer-awareness.html

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