Breast Cancer Awareness Personal For Ducks
When Jordon Scott was named to a panel of Oregon football players tasked with generating ideas for future uniform designs, his mind immediately drifted to a game he watched the Ducks play back in 2013.
During a visit by Washington State to Autzen Stadium that season, the UO football team wore pink helmets as part of a uniform designed to support breast cancer awareness. Scott was a high school freshman that year, but the pink helmets struck a chord that still resonated with him when he played for the Ducks from 2017-20.
It would be amazing, Scott suggested to UO football equipment administrator Kenny Farr a few years ago, if the Ducks could wear something similar again in the future. Even if it couldn't happen in time for Scott himself to wear them, the defensive lineman hoped to see the Ducks wear pink again, both for the cause they represented and the way they popped on the field.
"I thought the jersey combo from the past was ridiculous, insane – one of the best combinations I've ever seen," Scott recalled recently. "And I knew in the future they could make it even better."
That seed planted by Scott several years ago was nurtured by the design gurus at Nike, and the fruits of their efforts were unveiled Monday. When the Ducks host UCLA in Autzen Stadium on Oct. 22, they'll wear an updated version of the breast cancer awareness uniform, featuring a black helmet with pink wings and black jerseys with pink numerals.
Retail items influenced by the uniform went on sale Monday, and a number of helmets from the UCLA game eventually will be auctioned off by Fanatics. Proceeds from those sales will support breast cancer research at the OHSU Knight Cancer Institute.
"I love the way we're partnering with Nike, and the things they can develop for us and our team," said UO coach Dan Lanning, whose wife, Sauphia, is a bone cancer survivor. "But obviously this kind of has a special place for me."
October is breast cancer awareness month, and Scott recalls proudly wearing pink gloves and wrist bands during October youth football games to honor a great grandmother who passed from the disease. Current UO receiver Kris Hutson also has a personal connection to the cause – his mother, Lajean, is a survivor of breast cancer.
"I was really young still, but still, it was terrible," Hutson said. "I didn't want to ever feel like that ever again. To see her go through that and to see her bounce back, and to be strong still today, is God's blessing."
Once Scott and his UO teammates suggested a new version of the breast cancer awareness uniform, it was up to a team at Nike to execute the idea, including graphic designer Daryle Hawkins, himself a former wide receiver for the Ducks.
Hawkins recently wrapped up a tenure of more than six years working at Nike, during which he was involved in high-profile projects including the "Ohana" UO uniform from the 2020 season. The new breast cancer awareness uniform was the final project as a designer at Nike for Hawkins, who was recently inducted into the Oregon Athletics Hall of Fame as a member of the 2010 team that played for the national championship.
"Being able to celebrate my team in that way and then also to have my last jersey be a cause-based jersey, that definitely is core to the Oregon ethos since my days being there," said Hawkins, who recently took a position as art director at StatusPRO, which recently released an NFL virtual reality game called "Pro Era."
"This is a big revenue driver for the cause. And of course Oregon being involved, we knew Oregon was going to be able to bring a lot of energy and attention to the cause, and also to celebrate survivors."
Current UO receiver Isaah Crocker was a senior in high school back in 2017, when the Ducks wore "Stomp Out Cancer" uniforms to support children battling the disease. Like Scott before him, Crocker looked forward to the chance one day to suit up for the Ducks himself in support of such a cause.
"Knowing that people are going through battles in life with cancer, it's just a tragedy, and it's very, very sad to see and hear," Crocker said. "For me personally, I just wanted to help out and represent those people, to just be supportive of them."
Back when he was on the panel of players who suggested a new version of breast cancer awareness uniforms, Scott was aware there was a chance he would be graduated by the time they were introduced. But he'll watch Oregon's game next week against UCLA with pride.
"As long as it's bringing awareness, that's the whole goal," Scott said. "Obviously it would be cool to wear, but it's more important to bring awareness. And I'll definitely be proud I had a small impact on those coming back around."