A New Jersey high school wrestling referee who was blasted for forcing a competitor to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his match has reportedly taken a step toward filing a defamation lawsuit.
Alan Maloney, in a legal filing to a dozen possible defendants, alleged $100,000 in damages for defamation of character and emotional distress.
Maloney said he was following the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association rules when he told wrestler Anthony Johnson to cut his hair, according to TMZ Sports. He claimed that he gave Johnson ample time to get a hair covering but he did not have one.
The video of Johnson receiving a haircut on the sideline went viral and drew criticism globally.
Dominic Speziali, an attorney for Johnson’s family, said Maloney’s plans to file a claim in the incident is “outright absurd.”
“His description of events misstates the facts and the applicable rules, both of which show that Andrew should have been permitted to wrestle — just as he did four days earlier — without a hair covering, without having to first cut his hair, and without Maloney’s unjustified interference,” Speziali said in a statement to NBC News.
Maloney hasn’t officiated a match since the incident. State civil rights and interscholastic athletic association officials were investigating.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.