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TOTALLY RANDOM : Bengals pride gets student suspended

November 15, 2009|Mike Penner

Until recently, it was unthinkable that a middle school would suspend a student for having Cincinnati Bengals stripes shaved into his head. Until recently, it was unthinkable that a student would want to have Bengals stripes shaved into his head.

That changed last week when Dustin Reader, an eighth-grader at Garfield Middle School in Hamilton, Ohio, showed up for classes with stripes in his hair and a large capital B shaved into the back of his head. School officials were shocked by the sight and, of course, immediately overreacted. Reader was ordered to shave the insignias from his head or face in-school suspension -- which calls for a student to attend school while being isolated from other students. Reader opted for the suspension.

Reader's parents are questioning the school's priorities and wondering about the concept of freedom of speech.

"This is a way for him to express pride in the Bengals' putting up a winning season," his father, James Reader, told the Dayton Daily News. "It's not racist, not drug-related, not gang-related or anything like that. It's about football."

His mother, Tina Wanamaker, said: "Were not going to fix [the haircut]. He's still going to school, and I'm proud of him for that."

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Trivia time

In 1943, the Pittsburgh Steelers and the Philadelphia Eagles merged franchises as football rosters became depleted during World War II. What was this new team called?

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A growing trend

Mark Spitz recently recalled for the Colorado Springs, Colo., Gazette a conversation he had with a Russian swim coach at the 1972 Summer Olympics.

After Spitz completed training the night before his first race, the coach asked the swimmer about his mustache. "Doesn't it slow you down?" Spitz replied, "It doesn't. It deflects water away from my mouth." Spitz then went on to win seven gold medals, breaking a world record with each one.

The next year, Spitz said, "every single Russian male swimmer had a mustache. And unfortunately, a couple East German women swimmers, too."

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As if he never left

One of the most popular T-shirts sold in Green Bay when former Packer Brett Favre returned to Lambeau Field on Nov. 1 with the Minnesota Vikings read, "We'll never forget you, Brent."

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It's all his

When the New Orleans Hornets fired Byron Scott as coach and replaced him with General Manager Jeff Bower, the move came with an unwritten ultimatum: You built it, you fix it.

"I told Jeff, 'The genie's out of the bottle,' " Hornets Chief Executive Hugh Weber told the Associated Press. "Nobody can say he doesn't have the right players . . . Jeff has hand-selected this team, and we like the idea that now he'll be held accountable for the results.

"Our expectations are high. Our sense of urgency is high. Our patience is low and we hope that translates into results quickly."

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Trivia answer

The Steagles.

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And finally

More evidence of a Clippers curse: On the day the Clippers opened their regular season, The Times ran a story reporting that Blake Griffin had a stress fracture in his kneecap, an injury that could cause him to miss the first six weeks of the season. The story's word count: 666.

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mike.penner@latimes.com

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