What started as a 38-second social media video by Steelers quarterback Ben Roethlisberger has drawn a lot of scrutiny in just over a day since it has been released.
Roethlisberger appeared in the video getting his hair cut and beard trimmed at Norman’s Cuttin’ Edge Barber Shop in Sewickley, after throwing passes to teammates at nearby Quaker Valley High School.
On Tuesday, Pennsylvania governor Tom Wolf criticized Roethlisberger’s decision to have his hair cut at the barber shop despite such businesses being closed by Wolf’s order in Allegheny County due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic. Allegheny County is in the yellow of phase of Pennsylvania’s reopening plan.
Tuesday evening, an attorney for shop owner Carlos Norman released a statement, clarifying that the shop remains closed and that Roethlisberger did not pay for the service, but that Norman saw him as a personal favor.
“Carlos Norman has been a community fixture and local business owner since 1993,” said the statement released by attorney Marc Kohnen. “Norman’s Cuttin’ Edge Barber Shop has been closed for business since the governor’s shut-down order, and presently remains closed, in full compliance with the law and state regulations. Mr. Norman and Mr. Roethlisberger are close personal blends, and Mr. Norman’s use of his free time during closure to provide a haircut to his friend was a personal favor where no money was received or exchanged.
“In most homes across the Commonwealth of Pennsylvania and the rest of America, we are relying on the selfless acts of friends and family members to help get us through the ongoing pandemic. We should all look within ourselves to celebrate and be thankful for the existence of family, community, and personal friends to lend a hand in each of our lives at this time rather than promote stories that divide us.”
A cached version of the shop’s website showed that as of May 13, the shop was still accepting appointments, saying that “due to the COVID-19 outbreak and for the safety of our patrons this establishment is only accepting online appointments so we can respect social distancing.”
Wolf did not say that he believed Roethlisberger or Norman were in violation of his order, but cautioned that he does not believe such behavior is appropriate or safe for Pennsylvanians.
“My concern is just a general concern,” Wolf said. “Anybody who puts himself or herself into harm’s way is something that I think we have to try to avoid. When you go to something like a barbershop, and you’re not protected, I don’t care who you are, the chances of that virus actually wreaking havoc on your life increases.”