Northwestern University athletics and Under Armour are under fire over football uniforms meant to support the country's wounded veterans at an upcoming football game.
On Nov. 16, Northwestern Football will take to the field wearing custom made Under Armour football uniforms to raise awareness and support for Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization whose mission is to honor and empower our nation's wounded warriors, according to Northwestern University athletics website.
The helmet, gloves, pants, shoes and spats feature the bloody-flag motif. According to the university website, players' names on the back of jerseys will be replaced by one of seven core value embellishments: Duty, Honor, Courage, Commitment, Integrity, Country and Service.
"After Under Armour presented us with the different ideas they had, we had strong thoughts on making sure the red, white and blue matched throughout, that it looked like a complete uniform head to toe," Wildcats coach Pat Fitzgerald said, ESPN reported.
They weren't the only ones with strong thoughts on the uniform. Critics say the red stripes from the flag appear to be bleeding.
“Isn't 'flag covered in blood' a little on-the-nose for something honoring a group that operates programs for injured veterans?” wrote Tom Socca for Deadspin.
Screenshot via YouTube Under Armour video
Screenshots of Northwestern's Wounded Warrior football uniform
"When you add in the blood-splatters "artistically scattered" across the uniform as though it was the football player who had been shot, mortared, rocketed, or hit with an IED, that takes it from being merely crass to being outright Not. Cool. At. All," wrote Lt. Col. Robert Bateman for Esquire.
But what many see as blood splatters is really an "authentically distressed pattern, which depicts a flag that has flown proudly over a long period of time," Under Armour communications manager Danielle Cavalli Daly told ABC 7 Chicago.
Some aren't buying this explanation, saying it was meant to look like blood on purpose. "If it was supposed to look like a distressed flag the RED stripe would have WHITE streaks in it. The white bands would be CLEAN," one viewer said on YouTube.
Adding to fuel to the fire is the fact that Northwestern is selling the jersey for $75, but then only donating 10% of the online sales to the Wounded Warrior foundation. In other words, only $7.50 per jersey sold will actually make it to the project.
The university does point out that players will auction their jerseys after the game and 100 percent of the proceeds going toward the Wounded Warrior Project.
As ESPN notes, Northwestern (4-5, 0-5 Big Ten) is in the midst of a five-game losing streak. On Saturday, the Wildcats fell to Nebraska 27-24 on a 49-yard Hail Mary touchdown pass as time expired.
The NU Wildcats take on Michigan at 2:30 p.m. at Ryan Field in Evanston, Illinois
What do you think of Northwestern's red, white and blue uniforms? Let us know in the comment section below!