High School Referee Who Forced Wrestler to Cut Dreadlocks Will Serve 2-Year Suspension

Alan Maloney, the high school wrestling referee who forced a wrestler to cut his dreadlocks, won't be allowed to do his job for two years. According to USA Today, the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association handed down a two-year suspension to Maloney. The ruling was made with the help of the Division of Civil Rights. Along with Maloney's suspension, high school officials will receive impact bias training. The DRC also released a Guidance on Race Discrimination Based on Hairstyle which explains the banning of certain hairstyles associated with African-American males and females.

“Student-athletes should be able to compete with each other on a level playing field,” AG Grewal said in a statement. “Racial discrimination in the enforcement of the rules of any sport is inconsistent with the spirit of fair play."

Maloney was the official for a meet in New Jersey on December 19. It was there that he told Andrew Johnson of Buena Regional High School to wear the proper hair cover or cut his dreadlocks. If he didn't do either one of those things, Johnson would have to forfeit the match.

Ultimately, Johnson had to cut his hair and the video of the incident went viral. Johnson ended up winning the match and then went on to win his district.

The incident forced some rule changes from a national standpoint.

"The incident caused the National Federation of High Schools to amend the hair-length rule," Tom McGurk of the Cherry Hill Courier-Post wrote.

"Rule 4-2-1 now states that hair shall not extend below the top of an ordinary shirt collar in the back; and on the sides, the hair shall not extend below earlobe level; in the front, the hair shall not extend below the eyebrows," the rule states. The term “natural state” was eliminated from the rule.


Maloney has yet to publicly comment on the suspension. However, Johnson's attorney told TMZ the punishment could have been more severe.

"The results of the [Division of Civil Rights]'s investigation leaves no doubt that repeatedly disgraced referee Alan Maloney was flat-out wrong in his abhorrent treatment of Andrew," Johnson's attorney told the outlet. "It is our opinion that any individual with such a storied history of race-based incidents and continuing questions about his credibility should not face a limited suspension of two-years, but should be permanently barred from officiating."