A New Jersey school district announced Wednesday that its wrestling team will not compete in matches refereed by the official who presented a wrestler with the choice of cutting his dreadlocks or forfeiting his match on Dec. 19.
New York’s WABC reports that the decision came out of an emergency Buena Regional school board meeting held Wednesday with community members to address the incident that saw the mandate made on the black high school student by a white referee with a reported history of using racist language.
Wrestler chose to have his hair cut rather than forfeit
Some community members said the school should have stepped in when the incident occurred rather than allow Alan Maloney to pressure Buena High School’s Andrew Johnson to cut his hair, citing a rule about hair length.
Johnson had a head covering that addressed the rule, but Maloney wasn’t satisfied. A rules official at the National Federation of State High School Associations said Johnson “should have been allowed to wrestle with the head covering.”
The Johnson family’s lawyer has said his head covering had been accepted in other events.
Johnson chose to have his hair cut before competing and winning his match.
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
Maloney’s alleged racist past
Maloney’s past allegedly includes using the n-word around other referees at a gathering in 2016.
The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association has arranged with other groups that assign referees to not assign Maloney to another match until further notice, according to the report.
Wednesday’s decision appears to be an effort to ensure that Maloney never oversees another wrestling match.
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