Teammates Support Fellow Athlete as He Dyes His Hair Pink

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Michael Barker is a junior at West Iron County High School in Iron River, Mich. He is also an athlete who has competed in basketball, football and track. Barker is known for sporting a Mohawk hairstyle, but his unique look became an issue at a recent track meet. 

Barker’s mother is a cancer patient fighting her third bout of the disease. Barker wanted to show his mom support during her struggle by dying his well-known Mohawk bright pink. His friends, mother and other students all felt the gesture was appropriate, but the athletic department did not. Barker was asked to get off the bus that was to take him and his track team to their meet over the weekend of March 28 if he didn’t shave his hair. 

“[My coach] told me I can’t have pink hair with Mohawk to support my mom with breast cancer,” Barker told “I want this to change. That’s my goal.”

When Barker was asked to leave the bus, he told coaches he quit. A few of his friends stood and did the same, believing their friend’s reason for dying his hair was a noble one.

“It was an easy choice, a very, very easy choice to support Michael,” Bryson Heimerl, Barker’s friend, said in a statement. 

Barker’s friends and mom were all proud of him. Though he sat this meet out, he plans on joining the team again in the future. 

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