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The NFL is covered in pink, but only a sliver of sales goes to breast cancer research

A pink ribbon for breast cancer awareness is shown before an NFL football game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers. (AP Photo/Marcio Jose Sanchez)

The pink takeover of the National Football League will continue tonight as the New England Patriots take on the New York Jets.

Everywhere you look at the game, you're likely to see pink shoes, pink ribbons, pink wristbands and -- surprise! -- pink merchandise for sale. It's all part of the NFL’s breast-cancer awareness campaign.

But if you think buying a $26.95 pink-lined Patriots hat means $26.95 toward the fight against breast cancer, think again. About 12.5 percent of the sales price of NFL-branded "pink" products typically goes to charity, according to NFL spokeswoman Clare Graff. In the case of the hat, that would be $3.37.

If that does not seem like a lot, don't blame the football league. It says it donates all of its royalty to the American Cancer Society. Retailers and manufacturers also collect their share of the sales price. And that arrangement may be better than many others; there's no government regulation governing the circumstances under which a company can use a "pink" theme to distinguish its products or services.

The NFL says it has donated about $7 million since 2009, largely from sales of its pink gear.

This video gives you the rundown:

Breast Cancer Awareness campaigns, and the licensed pink products they sell, are everywhere you look. But how much of that money goes toward finding a cure? (Video: Gillian Brockell/The Washington Post)