Referee Who Forced Teen Wrestler to Cut Dreadlocks Says He’s Suffering ‘Emotional Distress’

Referee Who Forced Teen Wrestler to Cut Dreadlocks Says He’s Suffering ‘Emotional Distress’

By Timothy R. Nichols

photo credit: Timothy R. Nichols // Shutterstock

Back in December, a referee forced a black teenage wrestler to cut his dreadlocks before a match. He deemed that the teenagers hair was not accordance with regulations. He told the teen to either cut his hair or forfeit the match. A video of Andrew Johnson getting his hair cut before the match went viral leading to the referee, Alan Maloney being barred from the officiating varsity competitions.

Maloney recently sent a notice of tort claims to a dozen potential defendants, including the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association (NJSIAA) and Buena School District officials. Such a notice is required before filing a lawsuit against a public entity.

The ref is looking for $100,000 in damages due to “defamation of character and emotional distress” from the incident.

Maloney also defended his decision to have Johnson cut his hair, saying he “properly performed his duties as the referee and fairly applied the rules governing a wrestling match,” according to the New York Daily News.

The Johnson family’s attorney, Dominic A. Speziali, refuted Maloney’s claims on Twitter.

“Ref Alan Maloney presents claim of emotional distress, defamation & lost income, puts potential [defendants] Buena School District, Buena Borough, NJ Atty General, Dept of Ed., NJSIAA, Atl. County, & County Clerk (deeds/elections) on notice,” Speziali wrote on Tuesday.

He added to the Daily News: “To the extent referee Alan Maloney plans to ever file a claim as a victim in this incident is outright absurd.”

Johnson, currently a junior in high school, went on to complete his season with 19 wins.

Back in October 2016, Maloney allegedly called a fellow referee, Preston Hamilton, the N-word during a small gathering of group of officials.

Written by Clarke Jones

Source: PEOPLE