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Ref Learns Punishment for Ordering Dreadlocks Cut

New Jersey suspends Alan Maloney for two years
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted Sep 18, 2019 6:37 PM CDT
An image from a Dec. 19, 2018, video shows Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson, right, being declared the winner of his match by referee Alan Maloney.   (Michael Frankel/SNJTODAY.COM via AP, File)

(Newser) – New Jersey's attorney general has suspended the referee who told a 16-year-old wrestler to have his dreadlocks cut or forfeit his match. Alan Maloney will not be allowed to referee any matches in the state for two years, the Philly Voice reports. Gurbir Grewal also said that officials and staff in high school athletics in the state will undergo implicit bias training. New Jersey's Division on Civil Rights investigated the case for 10 months. The decision announced Wednesday "makes it less likely that any student athlete will have to endure discrimination that not only undermines fair competition but also violates our state laws," Grewal said.

The wrestler, Andrew Johnson, won his match last December after choosing to have his dreadlocks cut. New Jersey referees now will undergo in-person training about the history of discrimination based on hairstyle. Maloney was not allowed to referee while the investigation was being conducted, per the AP. His lawyer could not be reached for comment. (California outlawed discrimination over hairstyles.)

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