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Umpire Makes High School Softball Player Cut Hair

An umpire in a North Carolina softball game gave a high school player an ultimatum recently: remove the beads from her hair or not participate in the game.

The player, Nicole Pyles, decided to have her teammates cut the beads out of her hair to participate in her Hillside High School senior night game, according to a report in USA Today.

umpire“It was humiliating,” Pyles told The News & Observer earlier this week. “Why do I have to take away from myself just to play this game where we are actually doing well? I’m embarrassed because you pick on me in front of all these people for no reason.”

The decision by the umpire has caused a stir among the community, which has prompted the Durham (NC) Public Schools to launch an investigation into a “culturally biased” high school athletics rule in the state, according to the USA Today report.

Per the rules outlined by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) within the state, items like plastic visors, bandanas, and hair beads are prohibited. Bobby pins, barrettes, and hair clips are permitted.

“I was upset,” Pyles said to The Observer. “He had seen me play multiple times. If it was a rule that’s that important why wasn’t it enforced the first time you spoke to me or you saw me come on the field or off the field or any of that?”

The statement from Durham Public Schools supporting Pyles read: “DPS supports our student-athletes and their right to self-expression in a manner befitting their culture, consistent with safety in training and competition. We believe the blanket ban on hair beads is culturally biased and problematic. We support our student, Nicole Pyles, and believe this rule should be amended. We frown on any rule or policy that promotes cultural insensitivity or does not reflect the ideals and principles of DPS and our employees.”

To read the full story from USA Today on the umpire forcing a high school softball player to cut her hair, click here