Hair Takes a Back Seat

(Philadelphia, Pa) — For the second NFL Meeting in a row and hopefully for good, the issue of whether a player’s hair can cover their name plate was tabled as everyone saw the unfathomable amount of time needed to debate this issue.  Commissioner Roger Goodell said that he needed more time to talk with more concerned parties (NFLPA, Players, etc) before trying to tackle this issue.

You could sense at these set of NFL meetings that hair wasn’t even on the radar when the CBA, a rookie salary cap, and many other more important issues were on the table.  Maybe now the Kansas City Chiefs and their head coach Herman Edwards, who surprisingly opened this “can of worms” can concentrate on improving the Chiefs’ 4-12 team.  However I am hearing rumblings that the Chiefs still want this topic discussed as a uniform issue sort of like towels hanging from a player’s belt.

Conservative Colts head coach Tony Dungy said of the issue, “I think there is room for personal expression, but when you listen to Herm [Edwards] and the Kansas City guys, it is kind of a uniform thing”.  He added “You look around and the name is covered, and part of the number is covered. We have to figure out how to address that. Hopefully there is a way to do it and get the best of both worlds.”

I believe with the NFLPA, individual long hair players, and even the American Civil Liberties Union (ACLU) speaking up that Commissioner Goodell and owners will finally choose to step away from this issue for good.  Trust me I know it hurts the “IBM” crew-cut esque NFL to have players express themselves and to see their sacred uniforms “tarnished” by long hair. But the hair issue is a fight that will leave the NFL with a black eye no matter the outcome. 

As I stated before, I really don’t care how many tattoos a player has or if his hair is down to his waist as long as the guy can bring the “wood” on the field.  I like that some guys choose to “rage against the machine” and thumb their nose at uniformity. 

 

Lloyd Vance is a Sr. NFL Writer/Analyst for BIGPLAY Football and an award winning member of the Pro Football Writers of America (PFWA)

Are We Talking About Hair ???

(Philadelphia, Pa) — Apparently the upcoming NFL Owners’ Meetings in West Palm, Florida will resemble many American households from the 1960’s as hair length and style take center stage.  The Kansas City Chiefs have put forth before the owners a proposed rule that would require players to wear their hair in a way (“tuck” it) so that it doesn’t obscure the name plate on the backs of their jerseys.

Sure they are saying that it is a safety issue and that they are not telling players to “cut” their hair due to CBA language that forbids such edicts –The NFL Collective Bargaining Agreement between the NFL and the NFLPA expressly prohibits the imposition of discipline based on facial hair or hair length… ACLU would be on the phone quicker than lightning. 

But you cannot tell me that the “Father Knows Best -esque” bureaucratic NFL does not want to rein players in that look unsightly in their opinion.  The NFL is running a VERY dangerous course by forcing player appearance, they already dictate everything with uniforms down to towel length and socks not being pulled up so apparently “hair” is the next step.  I will be interested to see what will happen if the rule passes and a respected veteran like Steelers safety Troy Troy Polamalu doesn’t want to “tuck” his hair.

I personally really don’t care how many tattoos a player has or if his hair is down to his waist.  The key matter in player evaluation is whether the guy can bring the “wood” on the field or not.  I like that some guys have the unusual “forget image” attitude that they are willing to express themselves in a sport where uniformity has gotten out of control.  Plus as Dolphins running back Ricky Williams learn if you play with long hair, it is okay for an opponent to use it against you.

It will take 24 positive votes from the 32 franchises for the measure to pass and if it does look for some fun “barber” fireworks come training camp time.