Referee under fire after forcing black high school wrestler to cut off dreads (VIDEO) — RT USA News

A New Jersey referee is facing fierce backlash for forcing a black high school wrestler to cut his dreadlocks off on the court sideline in order to compete.

Andrew Johnson had his hair brutally chopped off on the sidelines of his match for Buena Regional High School in New Jersey on Thursday after the referee, identified as Alan Maloney, gave him an ultimatum of cutting his locks or forfeiting the game.

National Federation of State High School Association rules dictate that all equipment worn on the mat, including hair coverings, fit “snug.” The ref claimed the cover Johnson was wearing over his dreadlock wasn’t sufficient – despite him wrestling without incident before the match, the Courier-Post reports.

The high schooler reluctantly chose to cut his hair and went on to win the match, but still appeared visibly upset following his win.

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The footage has sparked an angry backlash on Twitter. Some of it directed towards SNJ Today sports journalist Mike Frankel who posted the footage with a caption prasing Johnson as the “epitome of a team player.”

Frankel later offered some context for the footage – that Johnson’s coaches argued the ref’s decision for several minutes until Maloney started the injury time clock. He also apologized for missing the “big picture” and the significance of the incident.

Adding another layer to the already disturbing footage, is Maloney’s alleged history of racism. In March 2016, he reportedly called a black coach the n-word. Maloney apologized for the incident and voluntarily attended sensitivity training.

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The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association said the referee would not oversee any more events until the issue had been investigated. “At this point, the NJSIAA is working to determine the exact nature of the incident and whether an infraction occurred,” said its executive director Larry White in a statement.

In their own statement, the superintendent of the school district, David C. Cappuccio Jr., said “no school/district staff member influenced the student into making this decision.”

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Via RT. This piece was reprinted by RINF Alternative News with permission or license.