College football fans are used to one-off specialty uniforms — everything from desert camouflage to futuristic shock trooper to whatever Oregon decides to wear this week. But Northwestern’s gear for its Saturday home game against Michigan has drawn some criticism for its design — a flag-themed ensemble with splatters of red all over it that’s supposed to raise awareness for the Wounded Warrior Project.
The game-worn jerseys will be auctioned off after the final gun, with 100 percent of the proceeds going to the WWP. Replicas sold by the school will also benefit the charity — one dime out of every dollar, according to the school’s website.
Our good friends at USA Today Sports called them “the most patriotic jerseys in American history.” Popular sports blog Deadspin called it “gore porn” and said the red splatters are clearly meant to convey fake blood. Most other reports are leaning toward the second description.
In response, manufacturer Under Armour and the school issued statements saying the red stuff isn’t blood — it’s part of a “distressed pattern” inspired by “a flag that has flown proudly over a long period of time.” A similar pattern, albeit slightly less prominent, was used in Boston College’s star-spangled getups last year.
A 2009 uniform campaign to benefit the WWP didn’t involve splatters of any sort. It did involve Steve Spurrier.
Check out video of the uniform rollout below, and leave us your thoughts on the design.