A white, basketball referee has been banned from officiating children’s games in a Virginia City after he reportedly singled out and publicly inspected a 10-year-old black girl’s braided hairstyle on Saturday (Jan. 12), WAVY-TV reports.
The young girl was reportedly wearing braids with blue extensions during the basketball game. Erica Guerrier, the mother of the young girl and coach of the team, said the referee mistakenly stated that hair weaves and braids are against the rules. Guerrier claimed the ref then made a “spectacle” out of her daughter during the game.
“At the end of the day, they’re 9 and 10, so why does it even matter?” she told WAVY-TV.
Following the incident, Virginia High School League Executive Director Billy Haun said that the referee should not have raised concerns publicly. Hampton Roads Basketball Association commissioner Rick Ennis announced that the ref is under investigation and is banned from officiating future games in the Chesapeake, VA area. In addition, Guerrier said that she would like the ref to apologize to her daughter for the embarrassment.
This isn’t the first incident to occur at a sports event involving a black player’s hair. A New Jersey high school referee received backlash after chopping off a black wrestler’s dreadlocks in front of the entire school prior to his match. The ref was fired following public outrage.
Guerrier hopes her daughter’s incident will be a lesson for other refs. “I’m hoping that if the refs can get more education, more training, than we can see a decrease in these issues,” she said.