When will people learn to leave Black hair alone? A longtime Chesapeake, Virginia referee is learning the hard way to mind his own business after being banned from officiating games in the city after targeting a young Black girl during a basketball game over her hair.
The 10-year-old player in question had her hair in braids with blue weave added in for a pop of color.
In the middle of the game, during a time out called by the team’s coach, who also happens to be the girl’s mother, the referee came over and started to take issue with the girl’s hairstyle.
“He asked to speak to me and then he mentioned that one of the players when she goes to the next level, she is going to have to do something about her hair,” Erica Guerrier, the girl’s mother, and the team coach told WAVY.
The referee tried to claim that the style was against the rules.
“The Chesapeake official came and they had my daughter come over and he pointed to, I guess the point where her natural hair meets the hair that was braided in, and said he didn’t know what that was, and I said that’s her natural hair,” she added.
Guerrier believes that the coach made a spectacle of her daughter’s hair, confusing the little girl who is passionate about her sport and gives her all, practicing nearly five days of the week.
Moreover, even at a “higher level” braids and additional hair are not mentioned in the rules. WAVY notes that the Virginia High School League does have rules regarding hair, specifically surrounding the use of rubber claws and elastic hair bands, but not surrounding weave.
VHSL Executive Director Billy Haun noted that referee can stop players from participating due to safety concerns, which are open to interpretation. However, he strongly rebuked the way the public way the incident with the child’s hair was handled.
“If there were concerns about that young lady’s hair, that’s a conversation you have with a coach and with a player, and in this case as young as this player was, you have the conversation with the parent before the game starts, but not during the game. Somewhere private. That’s not something you do on the floor, during the game, before the game or after the game.”