Since 2009, Baltimore-based Under Amour has been creating special football uniforms to honor and benefit the Wounded Warrior Project. This year, the uniforms that Northwestern University’s team will wear on Nov. 16 sparked controversy because, critics say, the design appears to splatter the helmet, gloves and cleats with streaks of blood. Others are offended by the use of flag elements at all, saying the design amounts to nothing more than flag desecration.

The uniforms – to be worn just once – feature “courage” and “honor” in place of players’ names. They’ll be auctioned on the Northwestern website after the game, with all proceeds benefitting the Wounded Warrior Project. While the red markings could be construed as blood splatters, I find it highly unlikely that Under Armour intentionally designed a veterans’ tribute uniform to appear blood splattered.

Northwestern University said in a statement Tuesday that the special uniforms’ pattern “was inspired by the appearance of a flag that has flown proudly over a long period of time. We apologize that the design element could be misinterpreted.”

In a statement, the sports apparel maker described the design as “an authentic distressed pattern which depicts a flag that has flown proudly over a long period of time.”

I suppose I should rethink this t-shirt I designed for Capital Rowing Club in 2008…