Red White And Bullsh*t? Under Armour, Northwestern And The Glorification Of Wounded Warriors

By K.J. Kearney / @h1gher

Have you seen these new Under Armour uniforms that the internet has been abuzz about the last two days? You haven’t? Well, let me enlighten you then.

About 10 years ago, the B1G Ten’s smart school near Chicago, Northwestern University, decided to start taking football seriously. The Wildcats hired damn near the only guy from that school to become a consensus All-American in football to coach the team and started outfitting their team in better jerseys — both of which certainly help in recruiting. And as far as the whole college football jersey thing goes, there are certain schools that should always look good for any number of reasons, and I believe that Northwestern is one of them.

First, they are one of the few major colleges with the purple and black color way, which is so unheralded to me. It’s a beautiful and underrated color combination that should get more considerations when teams are coming up with color palettes. Shit, even teal got some burn in the '90s, so why not purple and black?

Secondly, they have a friggin’ stripe pattern named after them! HISTORY LESSON: In 1928 the Northwestern football jersey featured a narrow stripe over a wide stripe followed by another narrow stripe. According to records, the Wildcats were the first to do it, and it became such a staple in their subsequent uni designs that the stripe pattern was named after them. This was next-level stuff at the time so I don’t think it’s far-fetched to say that Northwestern was Oregon before Oregon became Nike’s boo thang. OK, maybe that is a bit of a stretch, but you get my point — sartorially they’re used to pushing the envelope (albeit 90 years ago).

So now that the Northwestern Wildcats have become semi-relevant in football again, it’s no wonder why Under Armour would choose them to do something fancy. But this Wounded Warrior Project joint that they have just pulled out of their buttocks is screaming, “LOOK AT ME!” — and for all the wrong reasons. The Wounded Warrior Project, for those unfamiliar, is an organization that seeks to get wounded war veterans back on their feet. Under Armour has taken the lead in its partnership with the WWP by crafting specific game-day jerseys for UA-sponsored schools; obviously Northwestern is getting the treatment this week.

But in addition to TOTALLY scrapping any semblance of Northwestern colors, they’ve also decided to wear jerseys with a seemingly blood-splattered United States flag motif.

“OF COURSE the blood-splattered effects are not meant to depict blood-splatter. How insensitive do you think we are?” proclaims a suddenly embarrassed Northwestern University spokesmen — not before he mentions that Boston College wore a similar outfit last year. Officially AU and NW are saying that this is a distressed flag depiction and not blood. A close-up of both the red and blue side of the graphic certainly brings that point to light but sheesh! Didn’t anyone in the review process think, “Ya know, this kinda looks like blood. Maybe we should stay clear of that actually war veteran dying in combat swag …"

Or …

Maybe there are interns or disgruntled assistant designers that are softly rocking themselves to sleep tonight knowing that the big fat “I told you so!” smirks they're going to have plastered on their faces at work tomorrow will be all the bragging that's needed. Because if they stay chill, handle themselves correctly and not try to stunt on the dumb-ass that green-lit this jersey set, they’ll have the opportunity to bring the sartorial thunder back to Northwestern sooner than later.

Something like hush money but instead of cashing a check, they’ll get the chance to bring Northwestern back to the football jersey glory days of old.

Anything they come up would be better than this red, white and bullsh*t!

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