Long hair hanging down a player's back...

This came up on the Fifth Quarter last night but I didn't hear the actual answer. The question was something like "what's the rule if you grab the guy's hair in hauling him down on a tackle ? ".....or words to that effect.

Does anyone know if there is a penalty for incidental hair grabbing during the normal course of a tackle?

I saw it happen in the NFL once and the player was ejected and I assume that would happen in this league too because of how horrific the play looked.

There is no rule in the CFL for this as far as I know.

Section 7 of the CFLPA.com website page re the association's history:

Teams may make reasonable rules regulating conduct, punctuality, travel and dress codes, and media relations, provided copies are given to the players and served on the C.F.L.P.A. Except for reasonable rules relating to occasions when the player is representing the team, no player may be disciplined because of personal appearance.


In the NFL. players are advised to keep long hair tucked inside their helmets after a notorious 2006 "hair tackle" by KC's Larry Johnson on Troy Polamalu after Troy made a pick occasioned a revisit of the rule. Johnson was flagged for a personal foul on the play. Now, hair IS considered part of the uniform and is fair game.


There is no reference whatsoever to "hair" in the 2009 CFL Rulebook.

Oski Wee Wee,


Ejected for tackling???? When? Flagged yes, but ejected?*

Found it!

Matt Light of the Pats was ejected for fighting in a 2008 game vs. Miami where hair-pulling was involved.


Oski Wee Wee,


It happened in last night's game. I think it was Beveridge who chased down the long-haired Eskimo as he ran westbound along the south sideline. The first grab was the hair. You could clearly see the Eskimo helmet jerk backward before the defender got his other hand on a shoulder. There was penalty call, but the officials may not have seen it.

In my opinion, if the league doesn't have a rule against long hair hanging out, then it should be fair game to tackle by it. A better plan though would be to have a dress rule against it, at least for player safety, if not for other reasons.

Ooops. My typing error above. There was NO penalty call.

Thanks Russ.

I tend to lean on the side of the defense here also, in that the area of the body that the extra long hair is covering (pads, jersey down the front and back) are normal areas that are fair game for grabbing in order to tackle, let's say a receiver, breaking away after a reception. If the player wants to put his hair in harms way by draping it all over his uniform, then he does so at his own peril in my opinion. No defense player should have to carefully aim his hands through strands of hair so as to make sure he get's jersey or pads without grasping some hair along the way. We see how hard it is for players at times to not make incidental grasping of facemasks.......we can't expect them to surgically avoid grasping flopping gobs of hair all over a players self.

I seriously don't know why a player would want to put his neck in extra danger by having all that hair hanging out that could even be accidentally grabbed in he heat of battle........facemasks are dangerous enough as it is to players necks.

Don't know about the rules up here but in the NFL hair is considered part of the uniform and fair game. As to the above mentioned tackle on Polamalu by Larry Johnson, he was actually flagged because he pulled Troy up off the ground by the hair after the tackle had occured.

I'd say it has to be part of the uniform, otherwise players could all grow hair down to their butts and essentially create a safety zone for their backs where they couldn't be tackled without drawing a flag.

pulled Troy up off the ground by the hair after the tackle had occured.
Don't grandmas do the same thing or grab by the ear to get your attention if you're misbehaving ? :twisted: :lol:

I say that if a football player has hair hanging down the back of his jersey then he takes his own chances with it. A lot of tackles are made from behind and so the shoulder pad and back area are where defenders grab from. If there is hair hanging in that area and it gets grabbed or pulled then so be it.

If the guys don't like it then they should cut their hair.

Besides.. dreadlocks are not a hairstyle. They are a spiritual symbol of devotion to god for Rastas. I can assure you that none of these players with dreads are rastas. Its like an american walking around with an arab turban on.

I know in the NFL you can tackle using hair.

That goofy looking guy on the Steelers... Troy Pala...whatever-you-call-him was once dragged down by his hair. Hey... I agree! The hair gets in the way of his jeresy so imo it's fair game.

It's definately an easy way to tackle someone. That would kill going full speed.