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He Came Ready to Win. Then, a Ref's 'Cruel' Demand

NJ athletic officials investigating why Alan Maloney made young athlete shave off his dreadlocks
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 22, 2018 8:00 AM CST
Some are calling the treatment of the athlete "cruel" and "racist."   (Getty Images/jazzmxx)

(Newser) – In 2016, Alan Maloney was accused of using a racial slur against a colleague. Now the high school wrestling referee is in hot water again, this time for forcing a young athlete to have his dreadlocks shaved right before a match. NBC News reports the incident took place Wednesday night, when a student from Buena Regional High School was informed at his match that his hair and headgear didn't conform to regulation, per a statement from the Buena Regional School District. The options given to the young man, IDed by NJ.com as Andrew Johnson, by the ref: Forfeit the match, or agree to have his hair lopped off so he could wrestle; Johnson chose the latter. A video that's since gone viral on social media shows the athlete standing quietly while a woman with a pair of scissors does the deed.

Johnson went on to win his match, but the video spurred outrage over his treatment, which was called "cruel" and "racist," per the Guardian. Some wondered why he wasn't allowed to simply cover his hair with a wrap, which is what others with long hair often do; Sports Illustrated notes Johnson came with his hair covered. "No-loc bans are designed to oppress and shame Black people not just for expressing Blackness, but *for* their Blackness," the ACLU of New Jersey tweeted Friday. "They have no place in our society and certainly not in our schools." The Courier-Post reports in the 2016 incident involving Maloney, who was IDed by SI and NJ.com, he allegedly hurled a racial epithet at another ref during an argument over homemade wine. TMZ reports New Jersey state athletic officials are investigating the most recent incident. (A court decision on dreadlocks and the hiring process.)

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