Personal Foul: Hair Cut

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Complete this headline: Top Athlete Gets Into Trouble for ___

A few months ago, you never would have guessed the answer would be Going to the Barber.

Ben Roethlisberger of the Pittsburgh Steelers and Serge Aurier of Tottenham Hotspur are the latest who have been accused of running afoul of rules barring professional grooming.

Roethlisberger was pictured in a video posted by the Steelers throwing a few passes to teammates, then getting a beard trim in a barber chair, fulfilling a promise. He had vowed not to get the trim until he could start playing with teammates again.

But barbers are supposed to be closed in Allegheny County, Pa., where Roethlisberger got his cut. Whoops.

Gov. Tom Wolf of Pennsylvania said Tuesday, “When you go to something like a barbershop and you’re not protected, I don’t care who you are, the chances of that virus actually wreaking havoc on your life increases.”

The barber’s lawyer fired back, saying the cut was a favor to a friend.

“Norman’s Cuttin’ Edge Barbershop has been closed for business since the governor’s shutdown order,” said Marc Kohnen, the lawyer for the barber, Carlos Norman.

“Mr. Norman and Mr. Roethlisberger are close personal friends, and Mr. Norman’s use of his free time during closure to provide a haircut to his friend was a personal favor where no money was received or exchanged.”

As for Aurier, he posted a photo of his haircut, prompting his team, Spurs, to say, “We are investigating the circumstances and will deal with the incident appropriately.”

That could be three strikes for Aurier, who previously went for a run with a friend and also worked out with a teammate in contravention of social distancing rules. He posted videos of both incidents on social media as well, raising the question of whether a break from the internet might be a smart idea.

It was a simple line in the regulations for Australian Rules Football as the league moves to return to action. Players were encouraged not to have visitors at their houses other than family or close friends.

It almost immediately became known as the Bonk Ban, and set off a frenzy in Australia and beyond as the news media focused on one particular group of potential home visitors: one-night stands.

The leader in the coverage was The Melbourne Herald Sun, which headlined its article, “Single Players Disappointed by AFL Bonk Ban.”

Players were quickly surveyed and seemed happy to weigh in. “I’m not a single man anymore,” James Harmes of the Melbourne team told The Herald Sun. “I do feel for the young fellows.”

Stories piled up quickly, all of them apparently mesmerized by that alliterative wonder phrase “Bonk Ban.”

It is not a new term in Australia. In 2018, in response to a deputy prime minister’s affair with a staff member, such relationships were barred by Prime Minister Malcolm Turnbull. Yes, this too was dubbed a “bonk ban,” and drew its own share of mirth.

The Australian Football League is planning a June 11 return, with the usual bounce downs, drop punts and kick ins, but apparently without a certain activity.

One of the best soccer leagues in the world that you probably don’t follow plans to return on June 18, the Persian Gulf Pro League in Iran. The league halted play in late February with about a third of the season left to play. The three-time champions Persepolis are 10 points ahead.

The league is emerging as a club power in Asia, which has tended to be dominated by big West Asian countries like Japan, South Korea, China and Australia. Persepolis made it to the Asian Champions League final in 2018, and 100,000 fans packed into the Azadi Stadium in Tehran for the home leg.

In other corona-related news from Iran, an Asian Indoor gold-medal-winning sprinter, Maryam Toosi, is training on her rooftop in crowded Tehran, Agence France-Presse reported, since sports facilities have been closed.

Tehran rooftops were less beneficial to a parkour athlete with 100,000 Instagram followers, Alireza Japalaghy. He was arrested and accused of “norm-breaking and vulgar behavior” after posting pictures of himself hanging off a building while kissing a companion; it was the kiss and not the death-defying stunt that riled the authorities.

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