Yesterday, the big NFL news was former New England Patriots staffer, Matt Walsh, getting legal and financial indemnity to speak with the Commissioner about Spygate. Today, we’re back to the really important stuff: Hair.
This morning on ESPN’s “First Take,” commentators Skip Bayless and Jamelle Hill discussed the issue. Hill voiced her safety concerns, while Bayless said it was more of an image issue, comparing the athletes to gladiators. Per my earlier post, I still think it should be framed as a safety issue. You can see at right how dangerous being tackled by the hair could be for a player like Steeler Troy Polamalu.
Regardless, Commissioner Goodell has now weighed in on the locks debate. Meeting yesterday with the NFL Players Advisory Committee, Goodell said the NFL proposes that players tuck their long hair into their helmets during games.
However, an interesting concern was raised during the meeting. In the Goodell article linked to above, writer Chris Mortensen said there are concerns about so much hair compromising the protective features of helmets. Goodell said the NFL will consult with helmet manufacturer, Riddell.
According to the Mortensen article, the proposed policy would affect 62 players. Long hair is defined as reaching below the player’s nametag on the back of the jersey. Currently, hair past the helmet is considered part of the uniform and can be legally grabbed for take-down. Scary. I hope it doesn’t take a serious injury for the NFL to examine this as a safety issue.
The players group has not yet accepted the commissioner’s proposal. The bottom line: While teams will not ask their long-locked gladiators to cut their hair, players may have to stuff it to play.