A referee from New Jersey is not allowed to work any new matches as an investigation began over his actions to force a Black high school student to cut his dreadlocks before a match.
Andrew Johnson was moments away from facing an opponent before referee Alan Maloney said in order for the teen to continue he would need to cut his hair. Despite Johnson wearing something over his head to cover his locks, Maloney insisted the teen’s hair fell outside of regulation. In fact, Johnson was told to either cut his locks or forfeit the match.
Johnson agreed to cut them, and he was clearly upset about it. In the end, he won the match but when his hand was raised in victory he looked totally dejected, despite his teammates trying to boost him up.
Outrage over the incident was swift once a video clip surfaced. But even more anger grew when it was learned that Maloney has a racist history and got into a physical altercation after he called someone a racial slur.
The incident took place in 2016 when the referee was at a social function and uttered the slur before the Black man on the receiving end body slammed him. Maloney apologized, according to TMZ, for the incident and was forced to take sensitivity training by his employer.
“You can’t grow dreads over night,” someone commented after seeing the clip. “This kid has been wrestling with dreadlocks for a long time. This was wrong.”
“[It’s] not only the ref that was outta line,” another person chimed in. “It’s the schools, other officials that were there.”
“Every adult in that high school failed,” commented a third person.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association released a statement to TMZ,
“The NJSIAA has been in direct contact with school officials and is now awaiting official incident reports. A report also has been requested from the referee involved. In addition – and as per its formal sportsmanship policy – the NJSIAA has provided initial information to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights and will continue to send updates as they become available.
“At this point, the NJSIAA is working to determine the exact nature of the incident and whether an infraction occurred.
“As a precautionary measure, given the degree of attention being focused on this matter, the NJSIAA will recommend to chapter officials that the referee in question not be assigned to any event until this matter has been reviewed more thoroughly in order to avoid potential distractions for the competing wrestlers.”
You can see the video below.
Epitome of a team player ⬇️
A referee wouldn't allow Andrew Johnson of Buena @brhschiefs to wrestle with a cover over his dreadlocks. It was either an impromptu haircut, or a forfeit. Johnson chose the haircut, then won by sudden victory in OT to help spark Buena to a win. pic.twitter.com/f6JidKNKoI
— Mike Frankel (@MikeFrankelSNJ) December 20, 2018