A white baseball manager at a Georgia college, Valdosta State University, is facing criticism for reportedly telling a black player that he couldn’t be on the team due to his long hair, which didn’t adhere to the coach’s rules.
The incident was recorded secretly during a meeting between the coach, Greg Guilliams, and the former player, Asher Akridge, where Akridge questioned the coach’s decision to remove him from the team because of his hair length.
A TikTok video shared by Akridge from Valdosta State University captured him expressing his respect and compliance with the strict hair policy to the coach. The coach responded by indicating that if the player had followed his instructions and cut his hair, he wouldn’t have had to repeatedly address the issue, implying that he had previously instructed the player to trim his long hair on multiple occasions.
Coach Guilliams, aged 61, accepted partial responsibility for not clearly instructing Akridge, aged 21, on how to comply with the baseball team’s hair rules. However, he remains firm in his belief that he was right in removing the college student from the team.
Guilliams acknowledged his mistake in failing to provide clear guidance from the start and admitted that he may have given Akridge the wrong impression. He acknowledged that both parties share some responsibility and should have communicated better. Specifically, he admitted that he should have initially outlined the hair requirements and only allowed Akridge to participate once he complied, which he failed to do.
Akridge, who originally joined FIU in 2019 and played for Jacksonville State University in 2022 as a freshman before transferring to Valdosta State, tried to highlight inconsistencies in Coach Guilliams’ hair policy.
He pointed out that other players with long hair were not removed from the team, per the video. However, Coach Guilliams rejected his argument, stating that they should not discuss other players and reminded Akridge that they had agreed not to revisit this issue.
Coach Guilliams asserted that he doesn’t care about the opinions of other players, emphasizing that the matter is solely between him and Akridge. He questioned why he should consider allowing Akridge back on the team when they are discussing the same issue again. Akridge responded by saying his hair had been cut, but the coach disagreed, stating that it was still not short enough to meet the team’s requirements.
Akridge expresses confusion about the coach’s assertion that his hair isn’t short enough. In response, Guilliams explains that he is the one who establishes the team’s rules and can create them according to his own discretion. He reaffirms his authority by stating, “I’m the one that sets the rules; I can set whatever rule I want,” he said, according to the video seen by the New York Post.