A referee with a murky past is the center of a troubling video which showed him forcing a high school wrestler to choose between cutting his dreadlocks or forfeiting his match.
Shared by SNJToday Wednesday (Dec. 19), referee Alan Maloney inserted himself into Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson’s match. Maloney claimed the teen’s dreadlocks were a violation, despite him covering them with a cap. Maloney reportedly claimed the hair cap wasn’t enough and if the teen wanted to compete, he had to chop his hair or forfeit the game.
With the game being one of the most important of the year, the teen had no choice to comply under pressure. The video below shows an employee chopping off the visibly shaken teen’s hair. Johnson went on to win his match but barely looked happy about it as he left the mat.
The story went on to the shared by SNJ Today News sports director Mike Frankel, who inaccurately called Johnson “the epitome of a team player.”
Epitome of a team player ⬇️
A referee wouldn’t allow Andrew Johnson of Buena @brhschiefs to wrestle with a cover over his dreadlocks. It was either an impromptu haircut, or a forfeit. Johnson chose the haircut, then won by sudden victory in OT to help spark Buena to a win. pic.twitter.com/f6JidKNKoI
— Mike Frankel (@MikeFrankelSNJ) December 20, 2018
Frankel went on to issue an apology about the framing of his tweet.
— Mike Frankel (@MikeFrankelJSZ) December 21, 2018
After the video quickly went viral on Friday (Dec. 21), it was discovered that Maloney’s past transgressions against African-Americans were rooted in racism. In 2016, he evaded punishment after he called fellow wrestling referee Preston Hamilton, who is black, the n-word. The incident happened during an argument over homemade wine at a gathering in New Jersey. Hamilton slammed Maloney to the ground afterward.
According to NJ.com, Maloney agreed to participate in sensitivity training and an alcohol awareness program but admitted he didn’t remember using the slur. Both men were originally suspended but the decision was later overturned.
NJSIAA officials haven’t spoken out about the incident, but it hasn’t stopped people from condemning Maloney’s actions. Now, many have called for Maloney’s termination with a Change.org petition surfacing.
Feel free to call the NJ Wrestling Officials Assoc. to share your thoughts below.
Mark Sherman (973 214 9566)