An NFL official picks up a pink penalty flag for breast cancer awareness during the first quarter of an NFL football game between the Oakland Raiders and the San Diego Chargers in Oakland, Calif., Sunday, Oct. 6, 2013. (AP Photo/Tony Avelar)
By ARNIE STAPLETON
Pink is no longer the new yellow in the NFL.
The league won't use its pink penalty flags beyond Monday night's Jets-Falcons game.
The pink flags were part of the NFL's "A Crucial Catch" campaign in support of breast cancer awareness. Coupled with the players' pink equipment, especially their gloves and towels, the pink flags caused confusion among broadcasters, fans, players and coaches Sunday.
The league hadn't specified whether the pink penalty flags would be used through Week 7 like the rest of the breast cancer initiative, "but the experience this weekend solidified that it would be for one week only," NFL spokesman Michael Signora said.
Other elements of the campaign will remain, including pink wristbands and cleats, coins, sideline caps, goal-post padding, kicking tees, skull caps, shoe laces and cheerleaders' pompons until Oct. 21.
Yellow flags will return with Thursday night's Giants-Bears game, the start of Week 6.
"That makes sense," said Broncos safety David Bruton, who kept thinking there were more penalties than the 10 that were called in Denver's 51-48 win at Dallas.
"At times I didn't know if flags were thrown or not just because a lot of guys were wearing pink towels," he said. "So, that makes a lot of sense to go back to yellow so we can know. It's not a bash toward breast cancer awareness. You could see the confusion with our pink towels and the pink flags. You don't know which is which."
Bruton embraces the breast cancer initiative as much as any other player in the league. He donned a pink suit and silk tie on the Broncos' flight on Saturday and even put pink threading in his dreadlocks this month.
Fans and players are conditioned to look for the bright yellow flags against the green grass, and the pink penalty markers didn't contrast as well, leading to criticism on television and Twitter.
The pink penalty flags were first used in a Dolphins-Jets game last Oct. 28 after an 11-year-old wrote Commissioner Roger Goodell with the suggestion.
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