Are the Terps' new helmets too much like those by Charm City Roller Girls?

  • Charm City Roller Girls' All-Stars Team (left) and the Maryland Terps' new uniform
Charm City Roller Girls' All-Stars Team (left) and the… (Charm City Roller Girls/The…)
September 06, 2011|By Erik Maza | The Baltimore Sun

When the Terps’ revealed a new uniform and helmets before Monday’s game, there was much oohhing and ahhing over the all-white look with the Maryland state flag motif.

But at least one corner of Baltimore reacted with a dismayed pang of recognition: for the Charm City Roller Girls All-Stars team, the Terps’ new helmet looks much like the one they’ve been using for the past three years.

“They’re not identical, but they’re shockingly similar,” said Hillary “Rosie the Rioter” Rosensteel, the roller derby team’s captain.

Both helmets are patterned after the Maryland State flag and contain gold, black, red and white elements.

The Charm City Roller Girls’ All-Stars team has been using their helmets inspired by the state flag for three years. Ray Baranowski, who’s married to player Holly “GoHardley” Baranowski designed them.

“Ray developed it and hand-painted them,” Rosensteel said.

The first person to notice a similarity between the designs was a former derby league member, Rosensteel said. The other members soon chimed in with their own opinions, trading comments on Facebook and Twitter.

“The consensus is their new helmets are very much like the design we developed,” Rosensteel said. “We were surprised about the new design that Terps are wearing because it’s so similar to our helmets that we’ve been wearing for a good three years.”

On social media, the reaction to the helmets has been equally sanguine, with some Terps fans saying the uniforms are just unattractive.

The Terps’ new uniform was designed by Baltimore-based Under Armour. Its design is inspired by the state flag and the University of Maryland and features a “custom Maryland flag print,” a press release from the company said last week.

Tai Foster, a spokesman for the company, said no one from the company was available today to comment on the uniform because there’s “high demand” for access.

It’s not clear for how long the helmets’ design has been in the works. The Terps exhibited the new uniforms at a fashion show last month, but at the time, the helmet that was on display Monday was not shown.

For their part, the University of Maryland did not have a comment to the uniform flap. A spokesman, Doug Dull, has not yet responded for comment.

Rosensteel said it’s not the first time someone’s stolen their original design work. But she’s not sure if that’s what happened with Under Armour and declined to accuse the company of lifting the design outright.

She said it’s not implausible that the Terps helmets’ designers saw the All-Stars’ own helmets and were influenced.

“I can only guess where it came from,” she said.

For now, she said, “It’s just a coincidence. But I should not say anymore right now.”

She said the news is too fresh for the team to know if they’ll plan to pursue legal action or anything beyond scoffing at the alleged pilfering. 

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