Not since Jared Allen buzzed off his until-then trademark mullet – his wife shot down the idea of wedding photos with the groom in a tux with “business up front, party in the back” coiffeur – has a hairstyle made such a splash in the locker room.
Asked what he thought B-Rob’s new ’do, fellow defensive end Everson Griffen took a friendly shot at his teammate, saying he can no longer go by the tough street name of B-Rob anymore.
“You mean Brian?” Griffen said with a chuckle. “That’s his new name to me. B-Rob has gone out the window since he cut the ponytail. His name is Brian Robison. When you guys interview him, don’t call him B-Rob. Call him Brian, because without the ponytail, he’ll have no more swag. It’s Brian. No more B-Rob.”
However, jokes aside, the decision to cut his trademark flowing mane was for a good cause.
Robison donated his ponytail to Locks of Love, a non-profit organization that provides hairpieces to disadvantaged children going through cancer radiation and chemotherapy treatments. Locks of Love has as its mission statement to return a sense self-confidence and normalcy to children suffering from hair loss due to cancer treatment by using donated hair to create the highest quality hair prosthetics available free of charge.
It was a decision that had been a long time in the making. Robison said he started growing his out during the Vikings 2009 playoff run in January 2010 and that it had been almost five years since clippers had seen their way to the vicinity of his head.
His motivation was simple – he felt that when the time came to get rid of the long hair, he had an ideal place for it to go instead of ending up on the cutting room floor in a barber shop or stylist’s chair.
“I just think it’s a great cause,” Robison said. “I think it’s kind of pointless to cut hair and just let it go to waste. You get a lot of people, especially around the holidays, people want those little things in life – the hair and things like that. You see cancer patients every day that are going through the withdrawals of not having their hair. I think it’s a great cause – to be able to give something back. Even as little as it is, to see a cancer patient get some hair that they can wear and put a smile on their face, that speaks volumes.”
When asked how he got interested or made aware of the Locks of Love charity, Robison said it was a former teammate – a short-haired former teammate – who made him pledge to make the donation when and if he decided to let his shoulder length-and-beyond hair go.
“Actually, my long lost buddy Fred Evans, he told me a long time ago, ‘If you ever cut your hair, you should donate it to Locks of Love,’” Robison said. “I had no clue what it was. But I made a promise to him back then that if I ever cut it I would do it. I kept my promise.”
Robison maintains contact with Evans and, when the hair came off, one of the first people to text him on the new-look B-Rob was Evans. Evans wasn’t sure of Robison would ever go through with a shorter hairstyle and was pleasantly surprised when Evans’ photo popped up in his phone.
“He texted me the other day and said, ‘No, you did not cut my man-lock,’” Robison said.
Now the question is whether he’ll keep his hair short or start the process of re-growing his massive ponytail back? Once Allen lost the mullet for his wedding, it never came back. Robison’s new look is a vast departure from what he’s been used to over the last five years, but he is a fan of his post-makeover new look.
“I don’t know,” Robison said. “I kind of like the look I’ve got. We’ll see how long it lasts.”
But, much like Allen, once a man is married, you need two keys to start the launch codes and his wife will likely have a say. It led to the natural follow-up as to whether she likes it.
It’s a work in progress because it’s a drastic change from what she’s used to, but he feels that she is warming up to the new look after getting over the initial stunning change she saw following his haircut.
“It’s growing on her,” Robison said. “At first, she was in a little bit of shock – wide-eyed, didn’t know if it is a good look or a bad look. But I think it’s growing on her and I think she likes it.”
Robison laughed at how much attention something as simple as a haircut can be. It has garnered national attention and throwing a spotlight on the good work Locks of Love does for kids with cancer and made Robison as nationally known for his hair as his playing ability.
“Yesterday, I was in USA Today, which kind of a weird deal,” Robison said. “The ponytail had more fame than I did, I guess.”
While he has received a little ribbing from his teammates and coaches, most of whom have never seen him with anything but long hair, underneath the jokes and barbs there is a respect and admiration for the cause he is supporting and the benefit he can give to someone he will likely never meet.
“That’s just the kind of guy B-Rob, oh, wait, Brian, is,” Griffen said. “He’s a good man who saw a cause he could help and stepped up and did it. You have to respect that, but that’s just the kind of person he is.”