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PA Gov. publicly scolds Steelers’ Roethlisberger for private haircut during coronavirus lockdown

Pittsburgh Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger passing a ball during his 2007 home opener. (SteelCityHobbies, Wikimedia Commons/Released)
May 21, 2020

Pennsylvania Gov. Tom Wolf scolded Pittsburgh Steelers football quarterback Ben Roethlisberger for getting a haircut in violation of coronavirus lockdown orders.

On Monday, Roethlisberger shared a video of his getting a haircut, in celebration of his recovery from an injury during the 2019 NFL Season. The video first shows Roethlisberger pledging not to cut his hair until he had recovered enough to throw “a legit NFL pass.” The video then cut to footage of Roethlisberger completing a pass to Steelers wide receiver JuJu Smith-Schuster, signifying his return to form. Another cut in the video shows Roethlisberger celebrating with a haircut at Norman’s Cuttin Edge barbershop in Alleghany County.

“Feels good to be back out there with my guys!,” Roethlisberger tweeted Monday.

Alleghany County remains in a “yellow” lockdown phase, meaning barbershops are to remain closed. Barbershops and hair salons in the state are expressly prohibited from reopening in certain counties until those counties enter a “green” phase of the coronavirus response.

Wolf was asked to respond to the haircut video, during a press conference, reported.

“My concern is just a general concern and anybody who puts himself or herself into harm’s way is something I think we ought to try to avoid,” Wolf said, responding to Roethlisberger’s video. “And 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 wreaking havoc on your life increases.”

“I don’t think any Pennsylvanian ought to take that chance. I certainly don’t want to take that chance myself,” Wolf added.

 In a statement responding to the criticism from Wolf, the barbershop’s lawyer maintained that the shop is in compliance with the lockdown regulations but that the haircut was a favor between the owner and Roethlisberger, who are friends.

“Norman’s Cuttin’ Edge Barber Shop has been closed for business since the governor’s shut-down order, and presently remains closed, in full compliance with the law and state regulations,” the shop’s lawyer said. “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 was a personal favor where no money was received or exchanged,” the statement continues. “We should all look within ourselves to celebrate and be thankful for the existence of family, community, and personal friends to lend a hand in each of our lives at this time rather than promote stories that divide us.”

TMZ reported Roethlisberger’s pledge to go unshaven since September, when an elbow injury disrupted the 2019 Steelers season. His video on Monday went viral after it was tweeted out.

“The beard is trimmed…,” the official Pittsburgh Steelers account tweeted, sharing the video. “…you know what that means 👀.”