Alan Maloney, a veteran high school wrestling referee, in New Jersey forced a student-athlete to cut off his dreadlocks before a match Wednesday or be faced with forfeit. The wrestler, Andrew Johnson of Buena High School, had already wrestled twice this season with his hair covered.
It is similar to what other wrestlers with long hair use to cover it. Although Johnson went on to win this match, the actions of Maloney still resulted in quite a bit of controversy.
Wrestlers are allowed to wear legal hair covers during matches, according to wrestling rules set by the National Federation of State High School Associations. If a wrestler’s hair in its natural state extends below the earlobe on the sides or touches the top of a normal shirt, it’s required to be secured in a hair cover.
Leland Moore, a spokesman for the Attorney General’s office, said the Division on Civil Rights has opened an investigation into Maloney’s actions. In 2016 the same referee, Maloney, had previously been accused of using a racial slur at a fellow official.
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