On Monday, a young girl in Hope Mills, North Carolina arrived at the park with her father in hopes of playing in a recreational soccer game. Unfortunately, she was denied an opportunity to join the other children because the league deemed the hair clips and bows she wore to be against the rules. The young girl's father attempted to reason with league officials and explained that her clips are needed to hold her hair in place while she plays.
"And my husband even asked them, 'what needs to be removed so that she can play?' He was like, 'and how about this, we'll take it as a warning about her hair, let her play the game next game, we'll know what to do.' Nobody even offered a solution for her to play in her game," the young girl's mother, Da'Raille Marshmon, explained to ABC 11.
"So one of the other volunteers, I'm not sure her name, she comes back with a piece of paper with the rules and regulations on it. It said no jewelry, watches, rings, necklace, hair beads, hair wear of any type, can be worn during the game. My husband explained to them, this is not beads or headwear, these are ponytail holders, and clips, this is what holds her hair together. If they removed it, her hair is going to be all over her head."
In the aftermath of the incident, Marshmon is demanding that the league issue an apology to her and her daughter.
"I want a formal apology to my family and to my daughter," Marshmon told ABC 11.
"She went off the field, crying, confused, six years old: 'I don't understand what's wrong with my hair! I've been wearing my hair this way forever.' Other children, boys and girls had -- they had beads on and they were playing in their game."
Hope Mills Parks and Recreation Assistant Director Maxie Dove responded to Marshmon's allegations by pointing out that league rules bar hard hair clips during play. According to ABC 11, Dove provided PDFs that outline in-game hair accessory policies. With that said, Dove has said that the league will apologize to the Marshmon family and hopes to welcome them back soon. Moreover, Marshmon said that she welcomes the dialogue and noted that her daughter has a softer style of bows that would be permitted under league rules.
“She has a different style of bows, so I don’t have an issue with that but all people deserve is an explanation,” Marshmon told WRAL.