A New Jersey high school will no longer compete in sporting events officiated by Alan Maloney, the allegedly racist referee who gained national attention last week for demanding a black varsity wrestler cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit the match.
The decision was reached on Wednesday during an emergency meeting held by the Buena Regional school board regarding the December 19th incident. In video posted to Twitter, student-athlete Andrew Johnson can be seen submitting to an impromptu haircut in his school gymnasium, after referee Alan Maloney handed down the ultimatum.
No. It’s the epitome of child abuse.
— LACHS (@LAchs1167) December 23, 2018
"We have viewed the video footage that has gone viral and are deeply troubled by the embarrassment and humiliation our young student athlete endured," David C. Cappuccio Jr., superintendent of the Buena Regional School District, said in a statement. He added that "the school district and its athletic teams will not compete in any contest officiated by this referee from this point forward." The board also plans to meet with the high school's wrestling coach and athletic trainer, who administered the haircut.
Maloney has faced a firestorm of criticism in the days following the match, and is currently under investigation by the New Jersey Attorney General’s Office over the "potential bias incident." Community members and parents also used the school board meeting as an opportunity to vent their anger about the incident, NBC News reports. "I couldn't believe that this pig would humiliate that kid on the mat," said Buena Vista committeman Steve Martinelli.
This is not about hair. This is about race. How many different ways will people try to exclude Black people from public life without having to declare their bigotry?
We're so sorry this happened to you, Andrew. This was discrimination, and it's not okay. https://t.co/DK6Efj8ct4
— ACLU of New Jersey (@ACLUNJ) December 21, 2018
On Monday, an attorney for the Johnson family, Dominic Speziali, released a statement blasting the referee's "outrageous conduct," and questioning why he was able to continue in his role despite a previous "disqualifying race-related transgression." As the Courrier Post notes, Maloney was investigated two years ago for calling a black referee the n-word (He said at the time that he didn't remember using the slur, but "believes the accounts of witnesses who told him he said the word.")
Speziali added that Johnson offered to cover his hair, as he had in previous matches without problem, but that Maloney refused because it "wasn't in its natural state." The referee also supervised the haircut, the lawyer said, "directing [the trainer] to keep cutting until he was satisfied with the length."
Johnson went on to beat his opponent in sudden death overtime, though he reportedly remained visibly upset throughout the contest. He will not be attending the team's match scheduled for Thursday, the lawyer said.