(something really needs to be done about ugly headwear)

As noted yesterday, Chicago’s Ben Wallace was MIA for much of Saturday’s win over the Knicks, a benching that had something or other to do with his coach’s distaste for headbands. Amongst other things, writes the Chicago Tribune’s K.C. Johnson.

Sources said Wallace became upset early in training camp when Skiles enforced a team rule to tape ankles. Wallace never taped his ankles when he played for Detroit.

Wallace left practice to get his ankles taped and, unaccustomed to being constricted, had trouble running and sat out most of the practice, the sources said.

Less than a week later, Wallace hooked his MP3 player into a docking station to play music in the locker room before the first home exhibition game. Asked then if he now allowed pregame music inside the locker room, Skiles said he was unaware any was playing.

By the next home exhibition game, Wallace had headphones connected to his MP3 player. The headphones hung from a hook in his locker, with the volume turned up so loudly that music clearly emanated from them throughout the locker room.

Several people within the organization, including players, theorized Wallace was marking his turf for what perhaps was an inevitable clash between two strong-willed men.

George Steinbrenner doesn’t allow the Yankees to wear facial hair. The Knicks demand players wear suits while traveling. And White Sox and Bulls Chairman Jerry Reinsdorf, who is believed to be behind the no-headband rule, asked catcher A.J. Pierzynski and Joe Crede to get haircuts during last spring training.

What annoyed Wallace, a source close to the player said, is that he wasn’t informed of the no-headband rule until after he signed his four-year, $60 million free-agent deal.

Less than three weeks after being hired in 2003, Skiles uttered this classic quote in regard to a standoff with Eddie Robinson: “I’ve never lost a battle of wills in my life. And I don’t plan on doing it now.”

Wallace, who called himself “stubborn” in the preseason, clearly viewed his decision to wear a headband as payback.

I realize a holiday weekend has just concluded, but I am very surprised Hard Wood has been unable to collect Ben’s iPod playlist. So far, anyway.

Color me bitterly disappointed that Jay Mariotti had nothing to say about this burning issue in today’s Chicago Sun-Times, instead, choosing to crucify the overmatched Rex Grossman. I realize the Bears’ loss at New England is a big story, but if anyone could be counted on to defend Big Ben’s civil liberties, I’d think it would be someone who has been a pioneer for men wearing mascara in the workplace.