NJ teen wrestler forced to cut locs during game

Source: Washington Post

In a state top-ranked for high school wrestling, teenager Andrew Johnson of Buena Regional High had been in several matches wearing his dreadlocks with accepted covering with no incident. But last week he was faced with a choice: referee Alan Maloney said he would have to cut off his locs – or dreadlocks – or be made to forfeit the game.

https://www.washingtonpost.com/sports/2018/12/21/referee-high-school-wrestler-cut-your-dreadlocks-or-forfeit/

What happened next was a heartbreaking scene: Andrew’s hair was publicly cut. As he received high fives from his teammates, and sports journalists Tweeted about his exceptional sportsmanship. Andrew then stepped up to compete against rival school Oakrest in the 120-pound match, and went on to win.

While Andrew remained strong, the referee’s motives are being called into question. According to the Washington Post , Maloney drew media coverage in 2016 when he was said to have used the n-word against a black ref during a dispute.

The incident also raised the question of why is it that natural hairstyles are the only ones that must be removed in order to make us “team players”? Why is it that wooly, dreadlocked, afro-textured hair is immediately seen as non conformist and non-compliant or distracting when worn the same length as straight or wavy hair?

For more on this incident, including the response by the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA), the New Jersey Division on Civil Rights, and the ACLU, read the full article at the Washington Post.

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