Nebraska and adidas released the alternate uniform the Huskers will wear against Illinois in 2014. While I have some strong opinions on the overall uniform, let’s focus on the helmet. I’m calling it the Anarchy Helmet.
Why? Looking at the initial pictures, the unique color scheme (red and black, separated by a diagonal line) looked familiar to me. I felt like I had seen it somewhere before. On a flag, maybe? A quick Google search revealed that the red and black flag is a symbol for anarchy*
*More specifically, anarcho-syndicalism which Wikipedia describes as “a theory of anarchism which views revolutionary industrial unionism or syndicalism as a method for workers in capitalist society to gain control of an economy and, with that control, influence broader society.”
Hmm…anybody see a correlation between that definition and the plight of college athletes in 2014? How about if we follow that up with another quote from that Wikipedia article:
“The end goal of anarcho-syndicalism is to abolish the wage system, regarding it as wage slavery. Anarcho-syndicalist theory therefore generally focuses on the labour movement.”
Are the Nebraska Cornhuskers agents of anarchy? Are Kenny Bell, Ameer Abdullah, and others seeking to overthrow a system that makes millions of dollars off of their efforts, but leaves them hungry at night?
Now, I’m guessing the designers at adidas did not intentionally set out to offer a symbolic commentary on NCAA reform, paying student-athletes, or the efforts at Northwestern to unionize college athletes. And I’ll guarantee Nebraska A.D. Shawn Eichorst, Coach Bo Pelini, or anybody else connected to the University of Nebraska did not endorse any message about anarchism. Feel free to chalk it up to a random coincidence pointed out by a fan blogger reading way too much into a football helmet design.
Of course, there is one other nugget from the Nebraska/adidas release. All of the tweets, releases, and social media offerings from Nebraska and adidas have used the hashtag #RedRising. Using the color symbolism from the flag above, that hashtag says labor is rising. That sounds like a very apt metaphor for the position of the NCAA student athlete in 2014.
Industrial unionism aside, the Anarchy Helmet is pretty sweet. I like the matte red with the traditional sans-serif “N” in black. The black wedge on the bottom makes an interesting visual offset. It is easily the best component of the 2014 Nebraska alternates, and the best alternate helmet the Huskers have worn to date – even if there is an undertone of anarchy.