Bob McClure: Congratulations Patrick Mahomes … you have the right to remain silent

The sheer and utter stupidity of state regulation, with a misdemeanor attached to it

Before diving in, a bit of full disclosure is probably worthwhile. I had no vested interest in the outcome of Super Bowl LIV.

As a longtime fan of the Dallas Cowboys, I counted it a blessing to not have to root against the Patriots yet again, and from all the reports of how great a guy he is, I was genuinely pleased for Wilford Brimley (Andy Reid) to bring home Kansas City’s first Super Bowl trophy in 50 years.

And for my friend and FCC Chair/KC Superfan Ajit Pai, I couldn’t be more thrilled.

Sadly, I now find myself in a demographic I once derided as I remark about how great that “young fella” Patrick Mahomes performed — I think I am officially old enough to be his dad.

Not sure when I got old, but it happened.

It is in that context that I read with great dismay the report that the young, successful, dynamic, and talented Mahomes facilitated the commission of a crime while in Miami for the Super Bowl — a misdemeanor of the second degree punishable by incarceration.

Granted it’s only a 60-day sentence, but, nonetheless.

You see, the Super Bowl MVP, according to numerous media reports, flew his barber in from Kansas City to provide haircuts for himself and his teammates before the Super Bowl. Apparently, young Patrick’s hairstyle is all the rage and the kids are going crazy for it.

And that’s where the crime comes in.

You see, Florida Statute (476.194) expressly prohibits unlicensed barbers from performing services in the state, with the crime designated as a second-degree misdemeanor punishable by up to 60 days in a correctional facility.

Mahomes’ barber is licensed in Missouri, and Florida doesn’t have license recognition. No license in Florida; no haircut.

Don’t believe me? Go check out Florida Statute 476.194 for yourself.

At the risk of sounding like a stodgy old curmudgeon — I’m only 53, but still — this is a serious offense. I mean, we sit in legislative committee hearings year after year (after year after year) and listen to hours of testimony about the dangers of rogue barbers slicing jugulars from Pensacola to Key West.

We MUST continue to require some of the highest and most onerous regulatory restrictions in the United States, or else ears will be lopped off and chaos will ensue.

No, I am not suggesting that federal marshals bring Mr. Mahomes or his barber (who I will not name to avoid the spectacle) from Missouri to Florida to face charges. What I am pointing out, however, are two things.

One is the sheer and utter stupidity of state regulation, with a misdemeanor attached to it, stating if you are licensed to cut hair in Missouri you still have to jump through the government hoops to be able to do so in Florida.

This is protectionism plain and simple. Full Stop.

The second thing I would like to make note of is we can laugh at this example because it is the Super Bowl MVP, and that highlights the absurdity of the regulation scheme in place.

But it’s not a laughing matter for the young entrepreneur who may have moved to Miami from Kansas City to open a new barbershop. There is absolutely no reason whatsoever Florida (or any state for that matter) should have government-imposed barriers to achieving the dream of being your own boss or climbing the rungs of a career ladder.

Licensing schemes, in a limited number of cases, exist to protect people. In most cases, they exist to protect entrenched interests.

They exist to prohibit competition and keep prices higher than they otherwise would be.

They exist to rake in big dollars for trade associations, academies, and special interests who serve no purpose other than to siphon money from consumers and small businesses.

They exist, despite every piece of evidence that they shouldn’t.

I’d like to congratulate Patrick Mahomes on his Super Bowl MVP performance. I’d also like to thank him.

Through his “criminal act” he inadvertently exposed a system desperately needing a dose of sanity.


Dr. Bob McClure is president and CEO of The James Madison Institute, a nonpartisan, free-market think tank based in Tallahassee, devoted to research and education on public policy issues.

Guest Author


  • Scott King

    February 7, 2020 at 8:52 am

    So what is the answer here? The chemicals and health issues regarding this profession are a personal injury lawyers dream once you drop the licensing requirements for what in some peoples opinion could be just a harmless haircut. Salons are offering many services that could actually be considered medicinal, like botox for example. I appreciate the effort to lift restrictions on business but the personal injury racket seems to be what’s causing a lot of the regulation to begin with.

  • Bill Weiler

    February 7, 2020 at 10:39 am

    I forwarded this article to my state representative demanding action.

    • Shiela

      February 8, 2020 at 2:26 pm

      I can’t believe you took time out of your day to write long, overly drawn out pointless article. The barber wasn’t providing public services. Sorry bout your Cowboys.

  • Scott Evans

    February 7, 2020 at 2:18 pm

    We are no longer the “Land of the Free and Home of the Brave.” We have become, “The Land of the Fleeced and home of the Slave.”

  • Zack

    February 7, 2020 at 3:06 pm

    Except that the entire premise is incorrect.

    2016 Florida Statutes
    Chapter 476 – BARBERING
    476.034 – Definitions.
    Universal Citation: FL Stat § 476.034 (2016)
    476.034 Definitions.—As used in this act:

    (2) “Barbering” means any of the following practices WHEN DONE FOR REMUNERATION AND FOR THE PUBLIC, …” [EMPHASIS added]

    If, and only if, the barber was remunerated AND provided services to the public, was there a crime. Even IF you count airfare or tickets to the game as remuneration, he DIDN’T perform those services for the public.

  • Tom Gaitens

    February 7, 2020 at 4:11 pm

    As usual Bob, you nailed it!
    Keep up the great work!

    • phoebe

      February 16, 2020 at 5:46 pm

      nailed it with bent naisl that dont hold a thing
      (2) “Barbering” means any of the following practices WHEN DONE FOR REMUNERATION AND FOR THE PUBLIC, …” [EMPHASIS added]

      If, and only if, the barber was ########remunerated AND provided services to the public, was there a crime. Even IF you count airfare or tickets to the game as remuneration, he DIDN’T perform those services for the public.

  • Richard Evans

    February 8, 2020 at 1:00 am

    That haircut is a crime! Literally! Hehe…

  • Patrick

    February 8, 2020 at 9:28 am

    This is dumb. I can remember President Clinton paying a ridiculous amount at taxpayer money for his hairstylist to fly across the country and cut his hair.

  • DeWitt

    February 8, 2020 at 2:07 pm

    I do think there is a difference between the reciprocity of barbers or stylists and attorneys, physicians, nurses or counselors, but it is a slippery slope… I do think that if you are licensed to practive a profession in any state, you should be able to take the licensing test in another without taking any specific course, if you pass, you pass and if you don’t…take a class in local laws, requirements, and regulations and then try again.

  • Claudia

    February 13, 2020 at 10:31 pm

    This is the stupidest article I’ve ever read.

  • phoebe

    February 16, 2020 at 5:44 pm

    unless the barber charged for services you have no case… you are full of shit looking for minutua… a license controls commerce and commerce involve a contract… PUT UP OR SHUT UP… pssst govt can only control commerce and not private people in a private association…

Comments are closed.


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