Wrestler dreadlocks cutting: Ref with racist history.
The white referee who demanded that a black high school wrestler either cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit is being investigated by state officials.
Alan Maloney has been banned from overseeing contests while the probe is conducted, sources explained to TMZ Sports.
The embattled referee is also said to have felt that he was merely enforcing the rule concerning hair maintenance.
Video showed the moment that Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson had his locks cut off so that he could eventually win his match against Oakcrest Regional High School.
While Maloney asserted that his motives weren’t racist and the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association has worked to find out what exactly took place.
‘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,’ it said in a statement.
‘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.’
David C. Cappuccio Jr, Superintendent of the Buena Regional School District, released a statement stating that the school was complying with investigations and added insight as to how they perceived the events. The statement was obtained by the DailyMail.com.
‘The student-athlete made the decision to have his hair cut, at that moment, in order to avoid a forfeiture of the match,’ the superintendent said in a letter on Friday. ‘No school/district staff member influenced the student into making this decision.’
He later added: ‘The Superintendent of the Buena Regional School District spoke with the NJSIAA Assistant Director and stipulated that, although the investigation in the matter is ongoing, the assigned referee will no longer be permitted to officiate any contests that include any Buena Regional School District student-athletes.’
‘The staff and administration within the Buena Regional School DIstrict will continue to support and stand by all of our students and student-athletes.’
The now viral clip shows Andrew Johnson subjected to the impromptu hair cut right before his match competing for Buena Regional High School in Buena, New Jersey.
‘A referee wouldn’t allow Andrew Johnson of Buena @brhschiefs to wrestle with a cover over his dreadlocks,’ said SNJ’s Mike Frankel in the Thursday clip.
‘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.’
Under the National Federation of State High Schools Associations Situation 17, natural hair that is non-abrasive is allowed but ‘must be contained in a legal hair cover.’
In the footage, a white woman could be seen chopping off Johnson’s hair and leaving it in shabby way. The video later cuts to Johnson dominating his opponent and pinning him to the ground to win the match.
Frankel added that the move showcased that Johnson was the ‘epitome of a team player.’
But many on social media noted that Johnson is black and the fact that he had to cut off his hair showcased obvious racist practices that are enacted towards black hairstyles.