Nicole Pyles, a 16-year-old high school student in Durham, North Carolina, was forced to cut her braids during a softball game because her beads were a violation of the NFHS rules.

Nicole was wearing the braids with decorative beads during her team’s final home game of the season on April 19 when an umpire complained about not being able to see her uniform number.

The teen tucked her braids into her shirt and sports bra, but then the umpire complained again and said the beads violated the rules. 

The National Federation of State High School Associations prohibits student-athletes from wearing hair beads, bandanas and plastic visors on the softball field.

Nicole Pyles was left with no other option than to cut her braids to continue playing. 

I felt disrespected and I felt humiliated.

I truly felt like in my heart that it was not a choice … That’s my team, so I will stand by them no matter what. Beads are not going to be the reason we don’t win a game.

My hair means a lot to me … I’m not going to let braids take away from who I am on the field and off the field, but it is a part of me and no, I don’t want that to be stripped away from me.

Que Tucker, commissioner for the North Carolina High School Athletic Association released the following statement: 

As a member of the NFHS, the NCHSAA follows all NFHS playing rules and regulations, including Softball rule 3-2-5 which states, ‘plastic visors, bandanas, and hair-beads are prohibited.

This is not a new rule, and when the violation was noticed by an umpire, the proper determination of illegal equipment was verified as supported by NFHS rule. Further, according to NFHS Softball Rule 3-5-1, before the start of a contest, it is the responsibility of each coach to verify to the plate umpire that all his or her players are legally equipped and that players and equipment are in compliance with all NFHS rules.

Nicole’s father, Julius Pyles, was hurt and outraged by what happened to his daughter!

When my child came home and I looked at her head, all it brought me back was memories of stuff that I said I never want my children to endure. And all the [school officials] are hiding behind is the damn rule, a rule that a white man comes up with.

I want the world to know how I feel as a Black man, and as a father that my child had to be ridiculed in order to play a simple game.

Watch the ABC News report below.

NFHS plans to review its rules following criticism that they’re discriminatory.

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Source: ABC News

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