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The Hoddle of Coffee: Tottenham Hotspur news and links for Wednesday, August 19

Tziarra King’s hair journey

Tottenham Hotspur Unveil New Signing Joe Hart Photo by Tottenham Hotspur FC/Tottenham Hotspur FC via Getty Images

Hey, everyone!

I’m wondering if Tottenham has a new transfer strategy under José Mourinho that requires new signings to have tattoos on their arms.

Ramble of the Day

Utah Royals forward Tziarra King has been vocal about her experiences as a Black woman, particularly in the last few months. In particular, she has shared stories on her relationship with her hair. She tweeted about the inclusivity of imagery when it comes to women’s hair in July, and USWNT player Crystal Dunn and U-20 player Brianna Pinto discussed the tweet and the topic in a conversation about being Black female footballers in the United States. This week, King expanded on her experiences in a piece she wrote for the Royals’ website.

In many ways, it’s an introduction to the struggle Black women have because they feel the pressure to conform to societal standards that are not inclusive. She tells a history of her hair choices from when she was in elementary school to her current preferences as a 21 year old.

I remember crying and screaming as my mom struggled to get a comb through my thick hair. Looking back, I appreciate the time and effort she spent braiding my hair, sewing in hair pieces, perfectly placing barrettes, and trying her best not to hurt my tender-headed scalp. What a woman.

I wasn’t always delighted by the hard work she put into keeping my natural hair well maintained. At one point in elementary school I came home begging my mom to straighten my hair. I don’t recall what exactly prompted this desire, but I’m sure it was a combination of trying to conform to conventional beauty standards and being tired of my scalp getting yanked at every few days. So like the loving mother she is, she did whatever she could to keep me happy.

We quickly discovered that straightening my hair just wasn’t ideal for my active lifestyle. That flat ironed hair didn’t stand a chance against the combination of sweat and Jersey humidity out on the soccer field. If you’re Black, you probably have an idea of where this story is going next. Between boxes of Just for Me and sitting in the hairdresser’s chair with my scalp burning, relaxer was the “solution” to achieve the style I desired. Or so I thought.

It’s a story that leads to King revealing why she wears her hair short and blonde — “The short length of my hair allows for every major and minor detail of my face to be highlighted. The contrast of bleached hair against my brown skin makes me easily recognizable on and off the field.”

2020 NWSL Challenge Cup - Quarterfinals Photo by Maddie Meyer/Getty Images

This is not just a story of a Black woman’s journey to accepting the hair she was born with. Black women have experienced discrimination in relation to their hair, which King noted.

I would be remiss not to mention that even with the empowerment of the natural hair movement, the system we live in is still not designed for Black people. You finally find a style that you feel confident with and your hair is well maintained, but you get to work and are sent home for looking “unprofessional.” Discriminatory dress codes and hair restrictions leave Black people excluded or forced to conform. ...

Even in a work environment where my hairstyle is not restricted, I’ve had experiences that I can guarantee would not happen if I had a straight ponytail. Comments that have left me astonished and attempts to touch my hair putting me in an uncomfortable situation. A lack of knowledge, accountability and diversity allows circumstances like these to perpetuate.

I share this, ultimately, because the entire thing is worth reading. King tells a story that others before her have told, but one that is still unfamiliar to many people. I’d encourage you to get familiar with the story if you aren’t; if you are, King’s personal account is worth a read, anyway.

Links of the Day

The Ligue 1 opener between Marseille and Saint-Étienne was postponed after Marseille had four positive COVID-19 tests.

Eric Abidal left his role as Barcelona’s technical secretary.

Manchester City signed Rose Lavelle from OL Reign.

David Squires covers the last week in European football in his latest cartoon.

A longer read: Annemarie Postma on incoming England manager Sarina Wiegman’s coaching career and personality for The Guardian