New Jersey High School Wrestler Forced To Cut Dreadlocks; Referee Called Out For Racism

New Jersey high school wrestler Andrew Thompson was forced to cut his dreadlocks moments before his match on Wednesday. Thompson was told by referee Alan Maloney that if he did not cut his hair, he would forfeit the match.

Thompson went on to win, but was visibly upset as his hair was being cut off and after the contest. Thompson quickly walked away when the referee tried to raise his hand after the victory.

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New Jersey's Interscholastic Athletic Association said in a statement they are recommending Maloney not be assigned to any event until the matter has been reviewed more thoroughly. The Division on Civil Rights has also opened an investigation.

Wrestlers are allowed to wear legal hair covers during matches, according to rules set by the National Federation of State High School Associations. If a wrestler’s hair 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. Thompson had a cover for his hair, but was told that it wouldn't be enough.

American Civil Liberties Union of New Jersey and many online have called out Maloney for his "racist" action against Thompson. The school and coaches were also called out for allowing the incident to happen. 

High School Sports NJ reports that Maloney used a racial slur against a black referee in 2016. Maloney allegedly poked referee Preston Hamilton, who is black, in the chest and allegedly used a racial slur during an argument over homemade wine.

Buena Regional High School superintendent David Cappuccio said in a letter that the school supports and stands by all student athletes. “The student-athlete made the decision to have his hair cut, at that moment, in order to avoid a forfeiture of the match,” wrote Cappuccio. “The district will take appropriate action as more details become available.”

You can view the incident in the video player above.

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