White Referee Fired After Forcing Black Wrestler to Cut Dreadlocks

White Ref Forces Black HS Wrestler to Cut His Dreadlocks to Compete, High School Wrestler Returns to Competition After Dreadlocks Were Cut. Lawyer: Wrestler Forced to Cut Dreadlocks Still Targeted Because of Hair
Photo Credit: Mike Frankel Twitter Account

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.

Johnson’s family was at the meeting and their lawyer Dominic A. Speziali said the wrestler was “emotionally drained” from the embarrassing incident.

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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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