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Tuesday, December 25, 2018

High School Referee Who Made Black Student Cut Off His Locks Was Suspended at First — But Has Now Been Fired!

Andrew Johnson has had his locks cut minutes before a wrestling match

Andrew Johnson had his locks cut off just minutes before a wrestling match

Buena, NJ — Alan Maloney, the white referee who forced an African American high school wrestler to cut off his locks minutes before the match to avoid being disqualified, has been suspended while the incident is being reviewed, according to the New Jersey’s athletic association. Meanwhile, Andrew Johnson, the teenage wrestler, is being massively supported by millions on social media, the state governor, and many others.

Michael Cherenson, a spokesman for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, said the organization had talked to groups that assign referees and “they’ve all agreed” not to assign Maloney in any matches until the investigation regarding the incident is finished.

Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson, who is Black, had a cover over his hair during the match last Wednesday night. But Maloney, who is white, told him that the cover wouldn’t do due to state regulation violation. Johnson was forced to lose his hairstyle or forfeit. He eventually won the match but he appeared to be rather distraught.

In a video posted by SNJ Today reporter Mike Frankel on Twitter, Johnson can be seen getting his hair cut a few minutes before the match. The video had been viral on social media and many commented that the incident was “racist,” “cruel,” and “humiliating.”

Jordan Burroughs, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist, four-time world champion, weighed in on the issue on Twitter. He said that what the referee did was “nonsense.” He believed that “this was a combination of an abuse of power, racism, and just plain negligence.”

He also showed his support to the fellow African-American wrestler and said that Johnson was “courageous” for his performance in the match despite “all of the adversity and racism that you were facing in the moment.”

Governor Phil Murphy expressed his disappointment through Twitter and said that he was “deeply disturbed” by the story. He added, “No student should have to needlessly choose between his or her identity and playing sports.”

Johnson’s parents thanked those who have shown support for their son. In a statement, they said, “Andrew has been deeply moved by the thunderous outpouring of unsolicited support — including from an Olympic wrestler, leading civil rights advocates and elected officials — after the shocking pre-match ultimatum.”

Moreover, Dominic Speziali, a lawyer for Johnson, suggested that the impromptu haircut was because of Maloney’s tardiness. The statement noted that the referee didn’t attend the weigh-in that day and he didn’t initially raise any issue with Johnson’s hair when he evaluated him before the match.

In 2016, Maloney allegedly used a racial slur at a social gathering with sports officials. He was supposed to receive a one-year suspension but it was overturned when he agreed to attend sensitivity training and alcohol awareness program.

The state attorney general’s office has confirmed that there is an ongoing investigation of the incident by the Division of Civil Rights. The school superintendent said in a letter to the community that they support and stand by all student athletes.

Meanwhile, Maloney hasn’t personally commented yet about the recent issue. A woman who answered the call to a listed number for Maloney has said that the whole incident has been blown out of proportion and that Maloney was just following the rules.

Watch the news coverage below:

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