Northwestern University is drawing criticism over uniforms it plans to wear against Michigan next week that show what to some look like blood stains on an American flag.
The Wildcats will trade their familiar purple for the red, white and blue when they host the Wolverines on Nov. 16 to honor the Wounded Warrior Project, which supports wounded service members. The Under Armour jerseys with the stars and stripes will be auctioned off after the game, with all proceeds going to the Project.
The uniforms drew immediate reaction from online sports pundits and social media users, whose responses ranged from outrage to praise, the Raycom News Network reported.
"It's...tough to muster up outrage over the fact that just 10 percent of proceeds from jerseys sold will actually go to the Wounded Warrior Project. (Along with 100 percent of the proceeds from an auction of game-worn jerseys.) But isn't "flag covered in blood" a little on-the-nose for something honoring a group that operates programs for injured veterans?," Deadspin's Barry Petchesky wrote.
Jesse Reed, a columnist for the Bleacher Report, called the uniforms "classy" and said they reflect the "sacrifices made by the men and women who are supported by the Wounded Warrior Project."
"The men and women who sacrifice their freedom by serving in the military far too often go unheralded for their exploits. Those who return home after injuring themselves in the line of duty deserve even more gratitude and praise, and any chance we have to honor them, we should," Reed wrote.
Northwestern spokesman Paul Kennedy said Monday it's a "distressed pattern on both the stars and stripes that was inspired by the appearance of a flag that has flown proudly over a long period of time" and apologized "for any misinterpretation."
He added Boston College used a similar design last year.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.