Olympic wrestler slams high school wrestler's haircut

An Olympic champion wrestler has reached out to a New Jersey high school wrestler who had his dreadlocks cut off minutes before his match after a referee told him to lose the hairstyle or forfeit his bout.

News 12 Staff

Dec 22, 2018, 11:49 AM

Updated 1,982 days ago

Share:

BUENA, N.J. (AP) - An Olympic champion wrestler has reached out to a New Jersey high school wrestler who had his dreadlocks cut off minutes before his match after a referee told him to lose the hairstyle or forfeit his bout.
Jordan Burroughs, a 2012 Olympic gold medalist and four-time world champion, posted and spoke on social media early Saturday about the incident Wednesday at the Buena Regional High School match, saying he had never seen anything like it in a quarter-century of wrestling.

"This is nonsense," a message on Burroughs' twitter account said. "My opinion is that this was a combination of an abuse of power, racism, and just plain negligence." In a video posted on Instagram, he criticized parents and coaching staff at the match for not intervening, calling it "absolutely shameful."

High school wrestler Andrew Johnson, who is black, had a cover over his hair, but referee Alan Maloney, who is white, said that wouldn't do. Johnson went on to win Wednesday's match but appeared visibly distraught.

Burroughs drew attention to his demeanor, saying, "He was hurting, and that wasn't fair."

Burroughs called Johnson "courageous" for his performance in the match despite "all of the adversity and racism that you were facing in the moment" and said he understood his reasons for agreeing to the haircut, although it might have been "more powerful" to walk away.

Michael Cherenson, spokesman for the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association, said Saturday the organization had reached out to leagues and conferences that assign referees "and they've all agreed" not to assign Maloney to any event until the matter has been reviewed.

The state attorney general's office has confirmed an investigation by the Division on Civil Rights. The school superintendent said in a letter to the community that they support and stand by all student athletes.

Maloney came under fire in 2016 for using a racial slur against a black referee, according to the Courier Post newspaper. Maloney told the newspaper he did not remember making the comments. After the incident was reported, he agreed to participate in sensitivity training and an alcohol awareness program. A one-year suspension was overturned.

A woman answering the phone at a listed number for Maloney said the ordeal is being blown out of proportion and the referee was simply following rules.

Burroughs also said he hoped to be in touch with Johnson soon and promised to send him "a few cool things for Christmas."
(Copyright 2018 The Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)
12/22/2018 12:35:22 PM (GMT -5:00)


More from News 12
0:19
Officials: 12-year-old from Fort Lee dies

Officials: 12-year-old from Fort Lee dies

2:11
STORM WATCH: Scattered showers, severe storms possible in New Jersey on Memorial Day

STORM WATCH: Scattered showers, severe storms possible in New Jersey on Memorial Day

1:37
Federal Election Commission: Sen. Menendez paid $2M to Paul Hastings law firm, defense attorneys

Federal Election Commission: Sen. Menendez paid $2M to Paul Hastings law firm, defense attorneys

1:46
‘We need you.’ Monmouth County teens training as summer lifeguards during shortage

‘We need you.’ Monmouth County teens training as summer lifeguards during shortage

2:54
Perth Amboy Fire Department offers grilling safety tips for the summer season

Perth Amboy Fire Department offers grilling safety tips for the summer season

0:27
Police: 26-year-old motorcyclist killed in Englewood crash

Police: 26-year-old motorcyclist killed in Englewood crash

Guide: 2024 Memorial Day Parades in New Jersey

Guide: 2024 Memorial Day Parades in New Jersey

1:47
More than the Shore: New Jersey celebrates Memorial Day weekend in Hoboken

More than the Shore: New Jersey celebrates Memorial Day weekend in Hoboken

1:45
Beachgoers pack the Jersey Shore to mark unofficial start of summer

Beachgoers pack the Jersey Shore to mark unofficial start of summer

1:11
Thousands participate in 46th annual Spring Lake 5-mile run

Thousands participate in 46th annual Spring Lake 5-mile run

Dolphin stuck in NJ creek dies after ‘last resort’ rescue attempt, officials say

Dolphin stuck in NJ creek dies after ‘last resort’ rescue attempt, officials say

2:08
Blood test that detects colon cancer close to receiving FDA approval

Blood test that detects colon cancer close to receiving FDA approval

1:34
'This is unbelievable traffic.’ Memorial Day travelers share road trip blues

'This is unbelievable traffic.’ Memorial Day travelers share road trip blues

0:18
Prosecutor: Man accused of killing man in Roselle park turns himself in

Prosecutor: Man accused of killing man in Roselle park turns himself in

2:50
Police: 1 person injured in explosion at Sayreville power station; hundreds without power

Police: 1 person injured in explosion at Sayreville power station; hundreds without power

0:24
Newark man convicted of robbing poker player in Atlantic City

Newark man convicted of robbing poker player in Atlantic City

1:34
Fire at commercial building in Secaucus sends plumes of smoke into the air

Fire at commercial building in Secaucus sends plumes of smoke into the air

0:51
Jersey Proud: Ashley Lauren Foundation helps provide pool to boy with brain cancer

Jersey Proud: Ashley Lauren Foundation helps provide pool to boy with brain cancer

0:44
Gov. Murphy announces $100M Boardwalk Preservation Fund for the Jersey Shore

Gov. Murphy announces $100M Boardwalk Preservation Fund for the Jersey Shore

2:10
Jersey Shore business owners hope for successful Memorial Day, despite Route 71 bridge repairs

Jersey Shore business owners hope for successful Memorial Day, despite Route 71 bridge repairs