Alan Maloney, the White referee who forced, Andrew Johnson, a Black high school wrestler to cut his dreadlocks before a match, will no longer work in the Buena Regional School District. According to Good Morning America, David Cappuccio, a New Jersey superintendent decided at an emergency meeting earlier this week.
Maloney was placed on indefinite suspension after the dreadlock-cutting incident was recorded and shared on social media.
Cappuccio addressed the controversy in a letter on the high school’s website writing, “The Staff and administration within the Buena Regional School District will continue to support and stand by all of our students and student-athletes.”
Following the posting of the letter, a meeting was held at Buena High for a vote on “personnel matters.” However, Cappuccio made a decision on the viral haircut before the group addressed it.
“He’s done working with our district,” the superintendent said, according to WPVI.
Attorney for 16 y/o wrestler Andrew Johnson – Dominic A. Speziali – says family is defending coach & trainer questioning why administrators at the match did not get involved. The Johnson family wants to “resolve the matter” & to “return to normalcy” & are waiting for invex @6abc pic.twitter.com/VdrIhooh9p
— Annie McCormick (@6abcAnnie) December 26, 2018
Johnson’s family was at the meeting and their lawyer Dominic A. Speziali said the wrestler was “emotionally drained” from the embarrassing incident.
Speziali wrote in a statement, “The blame here rests primarily with the referee and those that permitted him to continue in that role despite clear evidence of what should be a disqualifying race-related transgression.”
He continued, “Andrew was visibly shaken after he and his coaches made every effort to satisfy the referee short of having his hair cut. But, as captured on video, the unyielding referee gave Andrew 90 seconds to either forfeit his match or cut his hair. Under duress but without any influence from the coaching staff or the athletic trainer, Andrew decided to have his hair cut rather than forfeit the match.”
The student-athlete has also decided not to wrestle at an upcoming meet because of the media attention. According to Speziali, Johnson will return later in the season.
The New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association and the school district are investigating the incident. The Johnson family will hold off on any legal measure until then.
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Christina Santi is a news and culture writer for EBONY.com. Born and raised in the Bronx, New York, she considers herself a well-read, not so traditional feminist with a heavy interest in music, fashion and pop culture. Christina currently lives in New York City, where she refers to her Cuban & Jamaican descent often while writing about her experiences as a first-generation Afro-Latinx in America. She also devotes time writing personalized reading material for her tutees and turning ideas into words for streetwear brand, PUER By Noel Bronson.