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Referee Under Fire For Singling Out Black Player Wearing Head Wrap

(Image: Left, Esther Gussing, Right, Jared Te’o / Twitter / @SEUAthletics / Screenshots)

 

Jared Te’o, assistant coach and recruiting coordinator for the St. Edwards University (SEU) women’s volleyball team, chastised a referee for telling a Black player she couldn’t play in a match unless her head wrap was folded smaller.

Last week, SEU celebrated a historic victory over Dallas Baptist University, but it wasn’t without a series of unfortunate events. Te’o revealed the situation on Twitter on Wednesday, Oct. 26 after congratulating his team on their accomplishment.

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Te’o shared with zeal that one of his players, Esther Grussing, was singled out by a referee for wearing a head wrap during the game. She was told to “fold [the head wrap] to make it look like a headband,” so she did. However, the referee claimed that the modified head wrap was too small, and she was told that “she could not continue.”

The team was forced to take a timeout until a replacement for Grussing could be found. Despite her discomfort, the graduate student pursuing a Master’s of Business Administration later collected herself and joined the team in bringing home the victory.

“THE WAY OUR TEAM CALLED BEHIND HER WAS WONDERFUL TO SEE,” TE’O SHARED IN THE CHAIN OF TWEETS.

The assistant coach lamented the “rules” of head wrap use, noting how they “disproportionately impact Black and brown athletes.” Black, indigenous, and people of color have traditionally worn head wraps. Despite its benefits as a hair accessory, Te’o also stated that women’s head wraps have cultural significance.

According to the NCAA uniform rules, “a headband, head sweatband, or bandanna worn as a sweatband is permitted; however, hats and other bandannas are not permitted.” Regardless of the rules, Te’o challenged the referee to handle the situation more effectively.

“I LOVE YOU ESTHER AND I LOVE YOUR FIGHT QUEEN,” TE’O ENCOURAGED.

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Written by How Africa News

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