UPDATE: Dec. 23, 2018 at 8:44 EST:
Alan Maloney, a white referee, forced Andrew Johnson, a Black high school wrestler, to cut off his dreadlocks or he would disqualify him from the match.
The match was held at Buena Regional HS, in Buena, N.J., about 30 miles northeast of Atlantic City.
The video is hard to watch and Johnson is visibly upset.
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
Shaun King posted on social media: “Disgusting and heartbreaking. A referee known for his racism, Alan Maloney (google him), made high school wrestler Andrew Johnson cut off his dreads or lose the match. They were covered and gave him no advantage. So he cut them off. He won the match. But this never should’ve been allowed.”
He continued, “This same ref, Alan Maloney, called a grown a** Black man, a ref, a ‘n-word’ last year and got his a** whooped over it. Shame on New Jersey for allowing him to stay in this profession. Parents all over the state emailed me this morning about his bigotry.”
Maloney, who gave a standard apology, has a history of racist behavior — calling a fellow Black referee a racial slur in 2016.
Both he and the Black referee, Preston Hamilton, were suspended, and eventually both reinstated by the New Jersey Wrestling Officials Association. The ruling shocked the community that rallied around Hamilton and who testified at ethics hearings against Maloney.
Many who opposed Maloney’s call said that students are allowed to compete with wraps over their heads when they have long hair. In addition, N.J. is the first state to offer girls varsity wrestling, and many have long hair.
Maloney has had over a three-decade history working around children in sports, refereeing over 30 state tournaments.
For this demeaning act toward a child, he was only ordered to a sensitivity training by the N.J. Interscholastic Athletic Association.
He should be fired and have charges brought against him for endangering (and traumatizing) a child. And the woman who cut his hair as well — she should’ve refused.
Reader Question: If you were this child’s parents what would you do?