Referee Tells HS Wrestler He Must Cut Dreadlocks or Forfeit Match

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N.J. — Alan Maloney, a high school wrestling referee in New Jersey, forced Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson to choose between cutting his dreadlocks or forfeiting his scheduled match against Oakcrest High School on Wednesday. 

Mike Frankel of SNJ Today provided video of Johnson having his dreadlocks cut off followed by his overtime victory to help Buena pick up the win:

Jenna West of Sports Illustrated noted Johnson arrived for the 120-pound match with his hair covered in a wrap, but Maloney still insisted he cut off his dreadlocks in order to compete. As noted by Matthew Stanmyre of NJ Advance Media, it appears Maloney didn’t give Johnson the option of wrestling with his hair in a wrap “like many other wrestlers with long hair.”

In 2016, Maloney allegedly directed a racial slur at African American referee Preston Hamilton during a social event for officials, per Mark Trible of the Courier-Post. Hamilton said Maloney poked him in the chest and then used the slur before Hamilton tackled him to the ground.

Maloney said he didn’t remember using the epithet, but he believed the “accounts of witnesses who told him he said the word,” according to Trible.

Both referees received one-year suspensions for the incident, but they were later overturned.

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