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Ref Suspended After Forcing Wrestler to Cut Dreadlocks

"This was a combination of an abuse of power, racism, and just plain negligence," said Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs.

Alan Maloney and Andrew Johnson / TWITTER

Alan Maloney, a white New Jersey referee, who forced Andrew Johnson, a Black high school wrestler, to cut off his dreadlocks during a match has been barred from further officiating as an investigation takes place.

New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association published a statement on Twitter following the racist incident at Buena Regional High School, in Buena, N.J., confirming that Maloney has been benched:

"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."

Related Story: Racist High School Ref Forces Black Wrestler to Cut Dreadlocks

The video of Johnson having his dreadlocks cut off has gone viral. Maloney has a history of racism, once calling a Black referee a racial slur.

Racist Ref makes Wrestler cut dreads or lose - Andrew Johnson forced to cut his Locs by Alan Maloney

On Saturday, Jordan Burroughs, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion, made several posts on Twitter in reaction to the incident, saying he had never seen anything like it in his 25 years of wrestling.

Reader Question: Jordan Burroughs said, "Just watch Andrew's emotion after the match clinching takedown — he was somber, knowing that he had just given up so much for so little." Do you agree?

The Conversation (11)
Dilip25 Dec, 2018

The ref should have been fired as well as the coaches on both school teams!

Kathryn O'Brien24 Dec, 2018

Well... diversity goes both ways. I am 78. You don't know my history and my work but there is a conversation that must be had. I have lived honorably and sometimes accepted and sometimes not. Good thinking People may have judged me, but I have gained some of their trust which I hold dear. The anger I feel when some white people act racist burns in my head and heart. I hate it and I openly hate it. I have made "my" stand and will not put up with it. If it happens in my presence that offender will know about it. So what, some say. And I would say to that person...what good is your lack of recognition of movement?

I don't think "all" people of color hate me...but some do. And... I don't like it either when I am lumped into the nastiest white groups..but, sometimes I am. I "understand" why this happens but whenever it happens more of my hair turns gray and that's something that happens to all of us. So I keep moving on and I keep trying because it's the right thing to do.

Kathryn O'Brien23 Dec, 2018

I am glad you stepped up Mr. Burroughs and commend your view. I also think that Andrew letting his hair be cut showed an incredible amount of resilience. By not doing so, he never would have experienced his win and we wouldn't have witnessed his strength of character. This ref, in my opinion, may have thought "he won't cut off his hair" to continue the match. I think Andrew won twice and his next head of dreds will be Gold. Good for you, Andrew.

Shugar27 Dec, 2018


Who knows why this young man decided to grow his hair out? Who knows how this bullying humiliated or demeaned him and publicly?!?

An example should be made of this adult and his penalty should be as severe as the one he made this young man endure! People say just grow it back IF a teacher cuts a child’s hair she loses her job, as it should be for this referee

24 Dec, 2018

How come neither parent stepped forward to protest this. (even after the fact?).....I would have just had to catch an assualt case, cause I would backhanded that ref like a Detroit pimp! screw that! sometime you have to take one for the team......bless that young man. I hope he gets an athlete of the year award from the state. That was just despicable!....I hope the Ref is permantly barred from being a Wrestling ref in the state period! Tell him to move to Idaho or Montana or Wyoming where he'll rarely see ppl of color.

24 Dec, 2018

1 - The NJSIAA's wording is offensive. "Given the degree of attention being focused on this matter. . .", indicates they would have done nothing without public outrage. 2 - It is mid-season for wrestling. Why is it an issue, now? 3 - Why didn't the Coach dispute this action? Call the match, under Protest? 4 - This ref was wrong and no one contested this decision? 5 - Who was the person that cut his hair & why did she not refuse? My hope is that civil lawsuits will be filed against the Ref, the School & the Coach and the Woman who actually cut his dreadlocks! This young man was a victim of assault, a possible hate crime and was publicly humiliated. He will Never be the same. And the Secretary of Education, DeVos, wants to eliminate civil rights in public schools. FURIOUS!

bekki layman24 Dec, 2018

Andrews family should sue like family. Ref, school, coach, because he should have steppedin and said NO WAY THEY SHOULD OWN CITY. PLUS city needs to find top notch therapist

votetocorrect23 Dec, 2018

This referee is a racist and needs to be stripped of all of his certs and never allowed to referee as long as he shall live!

23 Dec, 2018

This Racist Act is Despicable Period ! White people have the most Difficult time with Black Hair because it represents that you are being your Authentic Self and that’s Scary and Threatening to Them but ,besides that , the one thing the white woman doesn’t want is for someone to cut their hair . The way she Butchered his hair is something she would have Died over if someone had done that to her .

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