Narvasa explains 'boy-cut hairdos' memo for PBA women's 3x3
MANILA, Philippines – The Philippine Basketball Association is in hot water after one of its memos, which disallows women players to sport "boy-cut hairdos," surfaced online.
The new rule first came to light in a report by Tiebreaker Times on April 29. The memo, which also includes a rule on each team being allowed a maximum of two current or former national team players, is dated March 31, 2016. The rules stated on the memo will take effect at the start of the third conference.
A photo of the memo emerged in a report by Spin.ph on June 10 – more than a month since the Tiebreakter Times report, and nearly two and a half months since the memo's release – and it has since circulated on social media.
League commissioner Chito Narvasa explained the reason behind the boy cut rule, saying that the players "understand what caused that and where we want to go which is to continue developing women's basketball."
"During one game we overheard some people say 'ano ba ito high school player na 3 on 3 dito sa PBA??' When they learned girls pala (they're girls) they said 'ay!!' Then some officials and concerned people proposed dapat may haircut din sunusundan para makita (na) babae sila (there should be a haircut to follow to show they are girls)," Narvasa told Rappler in a text message Saturday, June 11.
He clarified his office has not received any complaints about the rule so far.
"We discussed and believed that especially for promotional purposes it would be good for the girls. So we issued the memo to wait for feedback. No one has complained till today. As a matter of fact some of the girls with boys cut have grown their hair so they can comply."
Narvasa pointed out how haircuts are "just like uniforms" and made clear that "short hair cut for women" is still allowed.
"It is also not true that they tried to reach us for comments. You can see the date in that memo was around March. It's already June and tryouts for the women's is set on 20 June. That alone should show the intent of the article is just to harm the PBA's reputation.
"Besides the PBA (is) still a private association which can set its own rules and haircuts being one of those. The girls are free to join other tournaments. They have freedom of choice. Remember haircuts (are) just like uniforms. What is important here is that only a boys cut is ruled out but not short hair cut for women. There is a big difference."
An anonymous player was quoted by Tiebreaker Times as saying the rule could bar players who prefer sporting boy cuts to play in the league.
“I guess it is a bit, competition will not be as high as it would be because there are a lot of players, with respect to their (chosen) gender, who prefer boy cuts,” the player said in the April 29 report. “And it would prevent them from playing, which is of course, sayang if lalo na (a waste especially if) they are very talented and they are not going to be able to join competitions because of their appearance.”
Another player who spoke anonymously admitted getting "shocked" at first by the rule but later on accepted it.
"Pero naiintindihan namin na gusto nila ma-promote as women’s basketball. Pero parang, for me, okay lang yun kasi bebenta yung women’s basketball kung ganoon,” the player was quoted as saying.
“Siyempre, yung iba, affected. Maraming players na magagaling pero (gusto nilang) ganoon yung appearance nila."
(But we understand that they want to promote women's basketball. For me that's okay because they're selling women's basketball. Others are affected. A lot of players are good but they want to maintain their appearance.)
The PBA women's 3x3 tournament was inaugurated this season with games played every Wednesday and Friday in between the men's games. – with reports from Jane Bracher/Rappler.com