A high school wrestling referee now infamous for having a black athlete cut off his dreadlocks before a match will never again officiate in the New Jersey district where the incident happened, the local superintendent said.
Superintendent David Cappuccio of the Buena Regional School District said referee Alan Maloney is “done working with our district” as the school board met with the public Wednesday night, according to WPVI.
The board itself didn’t take any action against Maloney, who made national headlines this month after a video emerged showing wrestler Andrew Johnson getting his dreadlocks cut before a match. Maloney had reportedly said Johnson would have to cut his locks or forfeit.
When the video went viral, social media users were quick to condemn it as racist and discriminatory. Maloney, after all, had already been in the news over an incident in 2016 in which he reportedly used a racial slur against a black referee. He later said he didn’t remember using the word.
This time around, Maloney claimed he was following a local wrestling rule.
Condemnation was swift and national; figures from New Jersey Gov. Phil Murphy to Jordan Burroughs, an Olympic champion wrestler, weighed in.
On Wednesday, the local public piled on.
“It doesn’t matter if he was black, white, green or purple, it broke my heart to watch that young man stand there and be humiliated like that,” an unidentified local told the board, according to WPVI.
Maloney was suspended less than a week after a local reporter posted the video, and now it appears that his career as a wrestling official is on the line. The state is still investigating the incident, and the Interscholastic Athletic Association is not assigning him to any matches until the review is complete, according to the local news outlet.
Johnson, meanwhile, will not participate in a match on Thursday because of the overwhelming media attention, but he will continue wrestling, his family’s lawyer told the station.
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