Last week reports made rounds that a New Jersey referee had told a young black wrestler to cut his locks before being allowed to fight. News reaching us from NBC today have revealed that the referee has been barred from taking any other officiating responsibilities pending when investigations into the incident are complete.
It was reported last week that a black wrestler from Buena Regional High School was forced by a referee to cut his locks and lose his headgear on the grounds that they were not compliant with rules of the game. A video about the incident went viral the next day. The video showed the student in tears while his hair was being cut.
A promise was made by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association to ensure that the referee is prevented from officiating any matches till investigation into the incident was complete. The body affirmed that there were actually regulations regarding hair length and gear but it needed to verify what context the referee had issued the instructions before passing its verdict.
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
The New Jersey chapter of the American Civil Liberties Union has also criticized the referee’s decision saying it tended towards racism rather than simple regulations.