• Michelle Dawn Mooney

Buena wrestler’s forced haircut now under review

The referee who forced a Buena teen to either cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his match is out while the matter is reviewed. Buena Regional High School’s Andrew Johnson tried to wrestle with a cover over his dreds, but referee Alan Maloney wouldn’t allow it. Johnson reluctantly agreed to an impromptu hair cut, and proceeded to win his match. Video tweeted by SNJ Today sports reporter Mike Frankel went viral, with many calling the move racist. Johnson is black. Maloney, who is white, previously was forced to complete sensitivity training following a 2016 incident in which he reportedly used the N word against another referee during a social gathering. It was not clear why Johnson’s hair was an issue at this meet when it apparently had not been an issue before. The state’s Interscholastic Athletic Association says they are recommending Maloney not be assigned to any event until the matter has been reviewed more thoroughly, SNJ Today reported. They say they also have contacted the State Division on Civil Rights. A woman answering the phone at a listed number for Maloney says the ordeal is being blown out of proportion, according to the station.

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’s tweet showing the teen’s hair being cut and then him winning his match had more than 12 million views by Saturday afternoon.

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