Sports competitions force athletes to remove hair beads


Wearing beads in one’s hair is a part of African American culture.

Anish Rao, Senior Staff Writer

 Many sports competitions are forcing African American athletes and participants to remove their traditional hair beads or else they are banned from competing. Hair beads are an important part of African American culture, and many find this rule unnecessary.

“That style of braids has no effect on sports or anything. This is just a stupid reason to treat people differently,” said Simone Kirk(‘23).

According to the New York Times, 16 year old Nicole Pyles got forced to cut her hair and remove her beads or else she would be forced to leave the game. Her father felt as though she had been purposely discriminated against. 

“This is just outright disrespectful and unnecessary towards people of color,” said Jordan Givens(‘23).

This problem is not limited to high school either. Similar issues about traditional hair beads have also come up in weightlifting competitions, claiming that beads signified jewelry and therefore had no place in a formal sports competition. 

“We shouldn’t have to be in a place and live in a place where this sort of thing is happening or even allowed. This is just rude,” said Erimi Oshewa(‘24).

The only thing that is stopping this sort of thing from happening is the Crown Act, which means to “Create a Respectful and Open World for Natural Hair.” Although this has only recently been passed in very few states, such as California, people hope to spread this to Joe Biden’s desk and make it nationwide. 

“Although the Crown Act is a really good thing that is going on, it is taking far too long to be fully implemented, but overall [it]  is a good effort towards diversity,” said Givens.

The Crown Act has been in place for over 3 years, and only 12 states have fully passed it. It is predicted to take at least a few more years to fully spread it across the United States, and give different competitors the fairness they deserve. 

“It honestly wouldn’t be a bad idea to boycott these sorts of things, because this isn’t acceptable at all,” said Kirk.

The Crown Act has the direct aim of stopping just these sorts of events from transpiring, and they provide representation for different cultures and their various ethnic hairstyles.