School To Boycott Matches Officiated By Ref Who Forced Black Wrestler To Cut Off His Dreadlocks

The referee who forced a black varsity wrestler to cut off his dreadlocks will no longer officiate in the school district, reports CNN.

Residents discussed the “race-related transgression” at an emergency meeting held by the Buena Regional Board of Education on Wednesday. The incident, in which wrestling referee Alan Maloney forced 16-year-old Buena Regional High School student Andrew Johnson to choose between cutting off his hair or forfeiting the match, made national headlines after a video went viral of a trainer cutting off Johnson’s dreadlocks in the middle of the gym.

David Cappuccio, the school district superintendent, said that he informed the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) that “the school district and its athletic teams will not compete in any contest officiated by this referee from this point forward…He’s done working with our district.”

He added that because Maloney is not an employee of the district the board “has no control as to the extent to which he will be able to continue to work as a wrestling official.”

According to NBC10, Johnson’s lawyer Dominic A. Speziali said during the meeting that Maloney had told the teenager his hair  “wasn’t in its natural state,” calling them “braids” instead.

“The blame here rests primarily with the referee and those that permitted him to continue in that role despite clear evidence of what should be a disqualifying race-related transgression,” said Speziali.

The Johnson Family

“Andrew was visibly shaken after he and his coaches made every effort to satisfy the referee short of having his hair cut,” added Speziali. “But, as captured on video, the unyielding referee gave Andrew 90 seconds to either forfeit his match or cut his hair. Under duress but without any influence from the coaching staff or the athletic trainer, Andrew decided to have his hair cut rather than forfeit the match.”

Johnson went on to win the match, but was understandably upset over the incident.

According to BuzzFeed News, the NJSIAA also said that the referee is also under investigation for his alleged use of the n-word in 2016, and that Maloney will not work until the matter is “thoroughly reviewed.”