NFL, NFLPA: Players must not shave their hair in public
It was a simple request: Do you want to be able to take a shower while watching the game?
The response was unanimous.
Players have a right to shave their heads in public.
They have a legitimate interest in protecting their personal appearance.
And the league’s head of security, Chris Beard, told reporters Wednesday that players have been instructed to shave all their hair except for their heads and hands.
The NFL Players Association, which represents players, issued a statement Friday, saying that players will shave their beards for the duration of the regular season.
The league said it has never required players to shave the entire head of their hair.
“The league does not require players to cut their bearded head or shave their beard, but the NFLPA has been in touch with the league about this issue and has asked the league to clarify,” the statement read.
The issue has divided fans, some of whom were outraged that Beard told players that they had to shave and then asked why the league hadn’t said so.
Players and their coaches are expected to shave during the regular-season opener against the Jacksonville Jaguars on Sunday.
But the NFL Players’ Association is calling on Beard to apologize for his comments.
The union said Beard was using language that was “unacceptable” and that it would ask the league for a clarification.
The league said Beard’s comments “were made in the heat of a sporting event, when players were on the field, and he was not in a position to make those comments.”NFL commissioner Roger Goodell did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
“This is a difficult and emotional time for many players and coaches, and this has become a point of contention,” NFLPA executive director DeMaurice Smith said in a statement.
“We look forward to working with the NFL and its Commissioner and will be asking for a thorough investigation into his comments.”
Smith also said the union would be filing an official grievance against Beard.
“He’s clearly out of line and completely mischaracterized the league and its players.
And I know the union is working with its lawyers to take action,” Smith said.”
There are no rules in this league and the players have no authority to force their managers to do what they see fit in order to be a part of the game.
The players have the right to have their hair cut, and I think the players want to see this right.”