A New Jersey high school wrestler was forced to have his dreadlocks cut before his match Wednesday or forfeit altogether by a referee with a history of making racial remarks.
Buena High School wrestler Andrew Johnson was caught on video obtained by SNJ Today receiving a cut from an athletic trainer. The team was participating in a dual meet against Oakcrest.
The referee was identified as Alan Maloney, according to NJ.com. Once the video surfaced, Maloney’s actions were slammed across social media.
“There’s nothing good about what happened. This is racism, pure and simple,” one person tweeted. “And every single adult in that facility should be fired for doing that to him, especially that racist referee!”
Another person tweeted: “This is aggressively anti-black. Something tells me this wasn't Andrews first wrestling match ever, so every other referee until this one deemed this boy's hair a non threat/risk.”
Social media users also criticized the team.
"His team should have walked out," a user posted. "Racism shouldn't be condoned."
The NJSIAA, New Jersey's high school sports' governing body, has not commented on the incident.
According to NJSIAA regular season rules, “Wrestlers opting to wear a legal hair cover must wear it to the weigh-in and be checked for grooming. The legal hair cover must be removed prior to the wrestler stepping on the scale to be weighed.”
Maloney had previously been accused of using a racial slur at a social gathering in March 2016, according to the Courier-Post. Maloney said at the time he did not remember using any racial epithets at the particular event, but accepted witness accounts that he did.
“You know, people do make mistakes and I apologized,” he told the Courier-Post. “I really don’t think this should go any further than it’s gone anyhow… The remark was not made to him. After he told me what I said, it was pertaining to us breaking each other’s stones… I didn’t remember it. I was told it. I believed it and said, ‘Yo, that ain’t me.’ That’s when I called him right away and that’s when he told me we were good.”