A referee allegedly forced a New Jersey high school student to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit his wrestling match, according to local station SNJ Today.
A video tweeted by Mike Frankel, SNJ Today News division's sports director, is raising more than eye brows this weekend. The video shows a Buena High School student getting his dreadlocks cut amid a wrestling match.
On Thursday night, Andrew Johnson was told by the referee that he would not be allowed to wrestle by wearing 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," the news director wrote.
The referee, Alan Maloney, has had some issues in the past. In March 2016, it was alleged that he used a racial slur at a social gathering when he disagreed with a fellow referee, who is African-American. Preston Hamilton, the referee on the receiving end of the slur, reportedly slammed Maloney to the ground because of the remark.
Earlier this year, New Jersey became the first state in the mid-Atlantic and just the 14thin the country to offer girls wrestling as an official varsity sport. As a result, more girls around the state than ever have been wrestling, many with long hair. – highschoolsportsnj.com
The NJ high school sports governing body has recommended that Maloney be sidelined from future matches until the incident undergoes a thorough review and the civil rights division has opened an investigation into the incident.
Was this a case of discrimination? Against an African-American student for having dreadlocks? Against a male student for having long hair? Against someone who is different?
We're going to have to see how this one ends up.
What do you think?