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Northwestern's 'bloody flag' Wounded Warrior uniforms draw criticism

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Northwestern will wear their Wounded Warrior uniforms in Saturday's game against Michigan. (Source: Northwestern Athletics/Facebook) Northwestern will wear their Wounded Warrior uniforms in Saturday's game against Michigan. (Source: Northwestern Athletics/Facebook)
(Source: Northwestern Athletics/Facebook) (Source: Northwestern Athletics/Facebook)
(Source: Northwestern Athletics/Facebook) (Source: Northwestern Athletics/Facebook)
(Source: Northwestern Athletics/Facebook) (Source: Northwestern Athletics/Facebook)

(RNN) - Northwestern University released photos Monday of its Wounded Warrior special edition football uniforms, which are solid gray, highlighted with American flag accents, featuring lots of simulated blood spatter.

The uniforms, which the Wildcats will wear Saturday for their home game against Michigan, polarized online sports pundits, whose reactions ranged from outrage to outright praise.

The iconoclastic sports website Deadspin launched a characteristic in-your-face screed against what it called the "asymmetrical patriotic mishmash."

"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?" wrote Deadspin's Barry Petchesky.

Bleacher Report's featured columnist Jesse Reed went 180 degrees the other way, calling the uniforms "classy" and "sharp-looking."

"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.

Nick Bromberg, the Dr. Saturday columnist for Yahoo Sports, split the difference with an understated questioning of the uniform's tastefulness.

"It's not all that good-looking," he said. "There's such a thing as too much American flag accents. It's for a good cause, but those duds are garish… A little patriotism goes a long way."

Comments online expressed the same range of emotion-charged pros and cons.

"Fake blood is for fake patriots," wrote yvanehtnloJ on the Deadspin.com site.

"THESE ARE BEAST!!!!!!!" observed ProSlomo, a YouTube commenter.

The helmet, gloves, pants, shoes and spats feature the bloody-flag motif. According to the university, players' names on the back of jerseys will be replaced by one of seven core value embellishments: Duty, Honor, Courage, Commitment, Integrity, Country and Service.

Under Armour, the supplier of Northwestern uniforms, has close ties to the Wounded Warrior Project, a nonprofit organization that aids, supports and raises awareness for members of the U.S. military who were injured in the service of our country.

Copyright 2013 Raycom News Network. All rights reserved.

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