High School Referee Demands Wrestler Cut Off Dreadlocks Or Forfeit Match
Alan Maloney -- who allegedly used a racial slur against a fellow umpire in the past -- forced a New Jersey high school wrestling star to chop off his hair or sit out the match.
Andrew Johnson was faced with an extraordinary decision minutes before his wrestling meet: cut your hair or stay on the sidelines.
Referee Alan Maloney told the Buena Regional High School wrestler he wasn't allowed on the mat with dreadlocks, even if they were covered with headgear.
Johnson decided to get his hair cut and went on to win the school's eighth straight title. But video of the incident has sparked debate over whether the referee's actions were excessive.
The National Federation Of State High School Officials states equipment worn on the wrestling mat -- including hair coverings -- fit "snug" to a player's body.
It appeared Maloney didn't even allow Johnson the option of wearing headgear, instead pressuring him to cut his locks or be disqualified.
Footage captured by Mike Frankel, Sports Director of SNJ Today, showed a forlorn Johnson with his head down as a woman roughly snipped his locks.
His teammates did their best to offer moral support, slapping hands and embracing him with words of encouragement.
The student's coaches vehemently argued the decision until the referee started the injury clock, Frankel later shared on Twitter.
With time ticking away, Johnson made the decision to remove his headgear and agreed to have his hair cut on the sidelines.
Social media users -- including TV star Drew Carey -- noted how disturbing Maloney's shock refusal to allow Johnson to wear headgear was.
Maloney has a documented history of bigotry, including using a racial slur at a social gathering of wrestling officials two years ago.
On Friday, New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association officials requested Maloney be sidelined until further notice and the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights opened an investigation into the matter.
Featured image: SNJToday.com.
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