New Jersey Athletic Association Benches Referee Who Told Black Wrestler to Cut His Dreadlocks

Earlier this week, a video of referee demanding a high-school wrestler cut his dreadlocks or forfeit the match went viral.


Image via Getty/Harry How


Last week, a video of referee Alan Maloney demanding high school wrestler Andrew Johnson to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit a match went viral. Maloney claimed his hair and headgear were not in line with league regulations. Now, the Associated Press reports that Maloney won't be assigned any more matches until the incident is reviewed.

New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association's spokesman Michael Cherenson explained that they had reached out to groups responsible for assigning referees, and that "they've all agreed" not to assign Maloney to any other events for the foreseeable future. Johnson won the fight, but Maloney's demand was widely criticized on social media.

Olympic gold medalist Jordan Burroughs chimed in on Twitter, calling the demand "nonsense."

"My opinion is that this was a combination of an abuse of power, racism, and just plain negligence," he said. He also criticized parents and fellow students at the match for not intervening. Governor Phil Murphy was equally as outraged, tweeting, "No student should have to needlessly choose between his or her identity and playing sports."

The state attorney general's office says that an investigation by the Division of Civil Rights has been underway. Maloney made the news back in 2016, after he called a black referee a "n****r."

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