03 February 2017

Basketball inches closer to ending ban on religious headgear

The international group that governs basketball is close to eliminating a longstanding ban on religious headgear in competition, clearing the way for athletes to wear hijabs, turbans and yarmulkes in international competitions.

FIBA told its playing rules committee at a recent meeting to create a proposal that outlines how headgear can be worn safely during games. The goal is to approve the changes at a meeting in May, the organization announced earlier this week.

The move comes following a two-year study and not long after a letter published on social media and sent to FIBA president Horacio Muratore. It called for the end of the rule, and was signed by a dozen WNBA players including Breanna Stewart, tennis greats Billie Jean King and Martina Navratilova, and U.S. Olympic fencer Ibtihaj Muhammad.

"I am a Muslim, and I think anybody should have the right (to wear headgear)," said Nuggets forward Kenneth Faried, who also signed the letter and won a gold medal with the U.S. in the 2014 Basketball World Cup. "Jewish - hey, if you're Gothic, whatever your religion is - Muslim, Christian, Catholic, it doesn't matter. You should be able to support your religion and wear whatever is part of your religion." [The Associated Press] Read more