Northwestern are scheduled to wear special patriotic-theme uniforms and helmets designed by sports gear giants Under Armour for their November 16 home game against Michigan, though NPR’s Mark Memmott reports the one-off jerseys are receiving what could charitably be called a mixed response.
The school and the uniform’s manufacturer, Under Armour, say the design was inspired by “the appearance of a flag that has flown proudly over a long period of time.” The uniforms worn by players are to be auctioned after the team’s game against Michigan, with proceeds going to the Wounded Warrior Project that assists wounded veterans and their families.
Many commenters on Under Armour’s Facebook page aren’t accepting that explanation.
“As a father of a U.S. Marine who has shed blood in combat in Afghanistan, I find this absolutely disgusting, insensitive, and disrespectful,” writes one, Scott Cooney.
“As a military spouse … I find your uniforms insensitive, offensive and shameful. There is nothing glamorous about wearing the blood splattered by your injured or fallen comrades,” writes another, Stephanie Lavezza Ferguson.
At Inside Northwestern, an independent website that covers the school’s athletic programs, columnist Chris Johnson says that beyond the matter of whether the design is distasteful, there’s also the issue of how much money will be going to the Wounded Warrior Project.
The university says 100 percent of the proceeds from sales of the game-work jerseys will go to the project. There are estimates that could come to about $100,000. But Johnson writes, “only 10 percent of proceeds from [replica] jerseys sold online will go to the foundation. That number seems a bit small to some people.”
Memmott carefully adds that “Bleacher Report columnist Jesse Reed thinks the uniforms are a ‘classy way to honor wounded warriors.'”