May 7th, 2014 ~ Vol. 84 No. 18
Teen baseball player’s
haircut causes uproar
Crowsnest Pass Herald Front Page
Source: Facebook
Liam Nazarek, 16, has been growing his hair for a year, planning to donate it to a charity that makes wigs for cancer patients. On Wednesday, he was forced to choose: get a haircut or play baseball.
Pass Herald Reporter
A secret video, a teenager’s haircut and an old-school baseball coach caused a social media frenzy last week.
Liam Nazarek, 16 has been ejected from the Pincher Creek Junior Dust Devils after refusing to cut his hair in accordance with coach Brian Mackenzie’s longstanding rule that his ball players have short hair.
The coach stuck to his decision, even after learning that Liam had been growing his hair for almost a year so he could donate his locks to a charity that makes wigs for cancer patients.
“Very noble cause, very admirable. I love it. Great. But the kid made a decision. We all have to get past this hair thing. It’s not about the hair, it was a decision made,” says Mackenzie.
The story might have ended right there, but Liam’s mother Kim Jorgenson, filmed an exchange between herself, her son and coach Mackenzie, before the Dust Devil’s home opener against Cardston last Wednesday.
"It's not part of baseball," says Jorgenson to Mackenzie of Liam’s hair in the posted video.
"It's part of my baseball team. If you want to coach, there's the team," replies Mackenzie.
"I said [cancer is] an admirable cause," Mackenzie says to Liam, "You could have mentioned that to me on Thursday night…I'm not going to say it was going to make any difference."
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"Hair is not a rule in baseball," says Jorgenson. "It is for me, accept it," replies Mackenzie.
She posted the video to Facebook and launched a social media storm.
It has been shared almost 4,500 times and sparked pro and anti Mackenzie comments from users across the web. Everyone from the advocacy group American Women United, to private citizens and even a punk rock band have weighed in with their opinions.
“WAY TO GO KIM ---- Time for the coach to stop coaching if that is how he feels,” reads one statement.
The video was the climax of a weeklong back and forth discussion about hair length. At one point Liam even tried tying his locks into a French braid and hiding it under his hat.
“I take full responsibility for that. I knew [the camera] was running. I’m not trying to hide that,” says Jorgenson. “[But] I feel it shouldn’t be about your appearance. It should be about your skill, your respect, your ability… hair, no hair, it just shouldn’t matter.”
Jorgenson says her son had been playing for his high school team until it folded due to a lack of players. Liam was a year too old to play for the Dust Devils but an exception was made and he was allowed to join the team on two conditions. One, he couldn’t be pitcher and two, he get a haircut.
May 7th ~ Vol. 84 No. 18
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