Alberta teen banned from baseball team over long hair

A southern Alberta teen has been banned from his baseball team - because of his long hair.

Liam Nazarek, 16, growing hair to donate to cancer charity but coach bans him from team

Liam Nazarek, 16, was banned from playing on his Alberta minor league baseball team because his coach felt his hair is too long. (Kimberly Jorgenson/Facebook)

A southern Alberta teen has been banned from his baseball team — because of his long hair.

The Pincher Creek Junior Dust Devils had been set to play their home opener this week when a heated argument broke out on the sidelines between the coach and the mother of a teen barred from playing. While both mother and son say it's important to respect the rules of the game, they say this goes too far.

  • Do you agree with the coach's decision to bar a player because of his long hair? Share your thoughts in the comment section or tweet us at @CBCCalgary.

"You need to be respectful of your coach. You need to be respectful of the rules of the game. I don't think your hair has anything to do with that," said Kimberly Jorgenson, mother of 16-year-old Liam Nazarek.

While Nazarek says he respects his coach's philosophy, he doesn't think his hair should be an issue given that the team is a community league. 

'Accept it:' Coach to player

In a video of the exchange, Jorgenson is heard questioning the coach's decision, saying "Hair is not a rule in baseball."

The coach, Bryan Mackenzie, responds, "It is for me. Accept it."

Mackenzie has been coaching the team for seven years and says his decision comes down to basic respect for the game.

"To me, the hair issue is part of the uniform," he said. "It's like the hat. It's like the jersey. It's all part of the appearance and that's important to me, to have respect for yourself and for your other team mates."

The Pincher Creek Minor Baseball Association has put out a statement saying it has no problem with Mackenzie's rule.

The league says the situation escalated due to "inappropriate use of social media" and that Mackenzie has had this rule for several years now.

In a statement, the league said, "The parent in this situation ... manipulated the the situation using social media. This is totally unacceptable if not only because it sets a terrible example for our children. There was no respect in this situation whatsoever."

In the meantime, a team from the neighbouring community has offered to let Nazarek play with them.

Nazarek says he hasn't decided whether he will join them.

Click on the video below to view the full exchange between Bryan Mackenzie, Liam Nazarek and Kimberly Jorgenson and then share your thoughts in the comments section.


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