WASHINGTON — Steelers Safety Troy Polamalu, a two-time Super Bowl champion and former defensive player of the year, is best known for either his bushy hairstyle or dirty play, depending if you’re a Pittsburgh fan or hater.
But he has also been an avid advocate for veterans, including acting as the face of the Veterans of Foreign Wars’ “United for Veterans” campaign last year.
This year, he’ll be the hair of the campaign.
The NFL star and celebrity shampoo spokesman will lop off some of his famous locks this November, for veterans. Intitially he had told organizers the trim would total 10 inches, but in a Facebook posting Thursday he called it a “ceremonial haircut” instead.
And he wants all Americans to get a haircut this Veterans Day, too.
If that sounds a bit confusing, don’t worry. Even leadership at the VFW admit it’s an odd connection.
The VFW Mane Event is billed as “a nationwide movement to raise awareness of the issues our veterans face” and a fundraiser for the organization. John Hamilton, adjutant general for the VFW, said the idea is to have members and other Americans sign up with local partner barbers to get a trim on Nov. 11, and talk about a military many citizens don’t fully understand.
Part of it is public awareness. Part of it is giving individuals a chance for another outward sign of support for the military.
Part of it may be that the older war veterans want to you get a decent haircut already, because you look like a hippie.
“In the end, it’s just about another way to support the veterans,” Hamilton said. “And, with Troy involved, we’re expecting to get some good media exposure.”
Along with the VFW work, Polamalu helped found the the Harry Panos Fund for Veterans, named after his wife’s grandfather, who served in World War II. Steelers fans may wince at the Sampson-like possibilities of Polamalu trimming his trademark top, but VFW officials are thrilled with the potential attention.
Hamilton said details of exactly how Polamalu will be shorn will be unveiled in coming weeks, leading up to Veterans Day. In the meantime, he’s hoping the NFL’s rabid fans will embrace the idea too.
After all, if some fans will shave team logos into the heads for their city, then surely they can get a decent haircut for veterans.