Did Bryce Harper take the ultimate shot at Fanatics and Nike with silent protest?

As Major League Baseball's uniforms continue to cause issues, Philadelphia Phillies' Bryce Harper may have given up and returned to an older version of the team's jersey.
Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies
Pittsburgh Pirates v Philadelphia Phillies / Rich Schultz/GettyImages

Major League Baseball is currently experiencing what appears to be a never-ending wardrobe malfunction.

The redesigned uniforms were the result of MLB's 10-year, $1 billion partnership with Nike and Fanatics in 2020. The uniforms, which were designed by Nike and manufactured by Fanatics, made their debut four years after the partnership was announced. The goal was for the uniforms to be softer, lighter, and stretchier. Instead, they've been nothing but a disaster.

Several players have complained about the uniforms. Along with being transparent, players have cited poor fabric quality, small lettering, inconsistent sizing, and sweat stains as main concerns. During a game against the Pittsburgh Pirates, Detroit Tigers outfielder Riley Greene's pants ripped at the seam of his right leg after a standard slide into home plate.

Bryce Harper may have worn an older uniform jersey

One Philadelphia Phillies player may have wanted to avoid the potential of a similar fate while facing Pittsburgh. During a game against the Pirates this past Saturday, two-time NL MVP Bryce Harper appeared to be wearing an older edition of the Phillies' alternate cream jersey.

Harper's jersey didn't appear to match his teammates' jerseys in photos shared on social media during the game by Tim Kelly of Phillies Nation.

Further images provided by Paul Lukas of UniWatch identified primary differences in Harper's jersey: larger NOB lettering, less NOB arching, and a higher-positioned MLB logo. Other differences included the collar trim, the sleeve trim, and the stitching on the chest script. The pants were also from an older uniform, as identified by the belt loops.

Furthermore, Lukas found that reliever José Alvarado has been wearing pre-2024 pants all season, although his jersey appears to be new.

Harper hasn't addressed whether the uniform change was related to the quality issues of the newer uniform. Athletes sometimes wear old uniforms if there is a logistical issue or damage to the new uniform.

Fanatics founder Michael Rubin and the league have both pinned the blame on Nike for the uniform issues.

"Nike designs everything," Rubin said. "Hands us a spec and says, 'Make this.' We have made everything exactly to the spec, and Nike and baseball would say, 'Yes, you've done everything we've asked you to do.'"

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