White High School Referee Who Forced Teen To Cut His Dreadlocks Suspended For Two Years

White High School Referee Who Forced Teen To Cut His Dreadlocks Suspended For Two Years

New Jersey state officials concluded an investigation and banned Alan Maloney for two seasons.

Published September 19, 2019

Written by Jarod Hector

CNN is reporting that Alan Maloney, the NJ high school referee who forced teenage wrestler Andrew Johnson to cut his dreadlocks, is being banned for two seasons. 

The incident, which happened on December 19, 2018, sparked national outrage and once again drew attention to the ways in which people of color (Johnson identifies as mixed race) are governed by society. 

Maloney, who already had a racially charged incident in his past, told Johnson his hair was “unnatural” and gave him 90 seconds to cut it or forfeit the match. 

On Wednesday (September 18) the state attorney general’s office suspended Maloney and announced that all referees, coaches and athletic administrators in all high school sports across the state must undergo implicit bias training. 

Wrestling officials also will be trained about hair discrimination.

"This is vindication," Johnson's attorney Dominic Speziali told The Philadelphia Inquirer. "This entire incident happened based on nothing he did wrong."

New Jersey Attorney General Gurbir Grewal said:

"Racial discrimination in the enforcement of the rules of any sport is inconsistent with the spirit of fair play. The Division on Civil Rights' action today makes it less likely that any student athlete will have to endure discrimination that not only undermines fair competition but also violates our state laws."

During the investigation there was some discrepancy in Johnson’s testimony. Maloney disputed he ever said “cut until I tell you to stop.” 

But a coach confirmed that Maloney did in fact tell the trainer when to stop cutting and the match followed. 

Since the incident, hair-length rules have been changed according to Larry White, the executive director of the NJSIAA, which oversees high school sports in New Jersey.

According to a statement White believes the changes in conjunction with training programs will prevent future incidents.

(Photo: SNJ Today)


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