A New Jersey high school is the center of a controversy which some say has racist undertones. Andrew Johnson, a wrestler for Buena Regional High School, was ordered to cut his dreadlocks before a match by a white referee who is now under investigation by state officials.
TMZ Sports reports:
The incident involves Buena Regional High School athlete Andrew Johnson — who was seen on video getting his dreadlocks chopped off before a match this week.
In the footage, Johnson looks distraught. People are furious, claiming the ultimatum was racially motivated since the ref, Alan Maloney, has previously been disciplined for making a racist comment in 2016.
The way it’s being explained to us … Maloney has not been formally suspended or disciplined for the Johnson incident, but officials feel it’s best to keep him off the mat while they gather information.
A source connected to Maloney tells us his position is that he was merely enforcing a rule about hair maintenance — and insists race was not a factor.
Meanwhile, we spoke with a rep for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association — which oversees high school sports in NJ — a who gave us the following statement.
“The NJSIAA has been in direct contact with school officials and is now awaiting official incident reports. A report also has been requested from the referee involved. In addition – and as per its formal sportsmanship policy – the NJSIAA has provided initial information to the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights and will continue to send updates as they become available.”
Despite the embarrassment, Johnson won his match, which notched an overall win for the school.