A European Football League player used his opponent’s long hair to make a tackle in a controversial moment that left fans debating whether or not the play was legal, some labeling it as “straight-up dirty.”
Footage of the wild play captures Frankfurt Galaxy linebacker Weil Nasri chasing down Rhein Fire running back Glen Toonga, and yanking his dreadlocks to make a tackle early in the third quarter on Sep. 17.
Seconds after the play, Toonga sprung up and charged at Nasri before both teams had to separate the two.
Refs halted the game for a short period of time after the play, as Toonga can be seen walking to his sideline with his hands placed on top of his head.
Fans flooded social media about the controversial play.
“So… You can grab the hair but not the helmet mask, that’s stupid Is not the helmet also part of the uniform?” one user replied on X, the platform formally known as Twitter.
“Straight up dirty,” another user against the hair-pulling tackle said.
Though many were quick to raise eyebrows on the play as a handful of others deemed the play perfectly legal.
“Yup, hair becomes part of the uniform,” one user went, which created a whole separate thread of others debating the no-call.
“Legal but morally wrong,” another commenter said.
A football coach entered the debate when he gave his take stemming from a personal matter with one of his players.
“It’s completely legal as a coach I wanted my son & players to have their hair braided & tucked in the helmet as well as the jersey tucked in, copy right,” the coach relayed, according to the Mail.
Others sprawled into a debate about horse collaring in regards to the hair pull.
“Yea but it should be a horse collar by definition of the uniform tackle,” one angry user argued.
“Umm negative, you can not grab the inside of the collar area of the jersey or that same are of the shoulder pads, the hair has always been fair game,” one person refuted.
There is no rule in the European Football League that prohibits a player from pulling an opponent’s hair to make a tackle — but, just like the NFL, face-mask pulling and horse-collar tackles are not allowed in the Euros.
The NFL implemented the rule, known as the “Ricky Rule,” when Miami Dolphins running back Ricky Williams was grabbed and pulled by his hair during a tackle against the New York Jets in 2003.
After the game, the NFL ruled hair would be considered a part of a player’s uniform and legal to grab on a tackle, the New York Times reported.
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