Rays Host 12-Year-Old Student Suspended Over ‘Rayhawk'


Zachary Sharples, a 12-year-old middle school student, was punished with an in-school suspension last week for committing the dastardly crime of ... getting a haircut? More specifically, he got a "Rayhawk," which is exactly the same as a mohawk except ... well, okay, it's just a mohawk.

But while the hair cut was once reserved for rebellious punk rockers, it's now popular among Tampa Bay baseball fans following in the footsteps of Jonny Gomes, Evan Longoria, Ben Zobrist and the rest of the Rays. But apparently at Palmetto's Lincoln Middle School, it's also against the dress code.

Not surprisingly, the suspension made waves both in the local media and the blogosphere, and when Gomes saw a story about Sharples on the news, he decided to invite him and his family onto the field to watch batting practice before Game 2 of the ALCS. From MLB.com:

Once Sharples got out onto the Tropicana Field turf, the Rays stopped over, one by one, and offered their support."Keep the mohawk, man," right-hander Andy Sonnanstine said, giving Sharples a fist bump. First baseman Carlos Pena offered to write the youngster's former principal a note.

[...] Gomes laughed when asked of his suspensions as a youngster, saying a Mohawk would have been "one of the better things" he did. "Hopefully, we've got a Rays fan for life -- a Jonny Gomes fan for life," Gomes said.

Between this and the girl in Chicago who got in trouble for (gasp!) wearing a Kosuke Fukudome jersey, some school officials need to relax. When did being a sports fan start being against the rules?

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