One of the EPSN2 talking heads asked an interesting question tonight…is tackling football players by their hair okay?
Some might argue, and it has some merit, that it’s no different than taking someone down by the face mask. Pulling the hair can indeed have the same effect of grabbing a facemask where the neck is concerned. But there is a major difference: hair is optional, but face masks are not (unless you’re really, really old school, in which case you wouldn’t have long hair, anyway).
I personally believe that, if it’s dangling, it’s fair game, whether it’s hair, jewelry, jersey, pads, or whatever. As a player, you shouldn’t want to give your opponent any sort of upper hand, and when competition is held at a professional level, it shouldn’t be an issue. You can’t constantly make rules restricting gameplay…the game has already wimped out to the extent that a defender can barely legitimately hit a quarterback, because they’re too valuable to lose. Why add yet another stipulation to the playing of a game that should be instinctual? Should would-be tacklers now have to distinguish whether they’re grabbing a shirt or a dread?
To me, it’s a sign of the death of discipline. Football players should not have such long hair. They shouldn’t have necklaces and jewelry while they play. No one who isn’t bald-headed shouldn’t have do-rags on under their helmets. Players shouldn’t be allowed to cavort and dance on the field after making a play. You dance when you win the game, fools!
For example, on my high school team, no one had long hair. In fact, a number of them had shaved their heads at the start of the season as a sign of solidarity. We were all clean-shaven…no facial hair. We had no goofy accessories like arm pads and tons of tape (unless it was actually needed) draped all over us. We had no prima-donna players, either…everyone had to earn their stripes on the practice and playing field for their positions.
It’s a shame that high schoolers had more discipline on their team, on and off the field, than professional football players today. You might call it the “No Fun League”, but putting reasonable boundaries on behavior and making things uniform allow the game to be played to its fullest. Otherwise, let’s just make the goalposts as wide as the goal line and get rid of the out of bounds and how many players you can have playing at once. Somebody cutting their flippin’ hair is quite reasonable.