Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re re-posting it here in case you missed it.
It must be a slow news day.
Media outlets and pundits are losing their minds over a referee enforcing the rules of an amateur sporting event.
This is manufactured outrage over the most low-hanging of fruits. This is identity politics at its most disingenuous and dangerous.
As the South Jersey Courier-Post reported, New Jersey high school wrestler Andrew Johnson had to cut his dreadlocks at the behest of referee Alan Maloney or forfeit his wrestling match.
Epitome of a team player ⬇️
A referee wouldn’t allow Andrew Johnson of Buena @brhschiefs to wrestle with a cover over his dreadlocks. It was either an impromptu haircut, or a forfeit. Johnson chose the haircut, then won by sudden victory in OT to help spark Buena to a win. pic.twitter.com/f6JidKNKoI
— Mike Frankel (@MikeFrankelSNJ) December 20, 2018
To preface this, Maloney might be a terrible person. He reportedly directed a racial slur at an African-American referee in 2016, per the Courier-Post. But Maloney also volunteered to enter both an alcohol awareness program and sensitivity training in response to the incident. So again, might is the operative word. It’s impossible to know what’s truly in a person’s heart.
Maloney did something very wrong, but he apologized and worked to make sure such an incident didn’t happen again.
However, his mistake made him easy fodder for the liberal media and the social justice warriors of the internet, who immediately seized upon it to declare the dreadlock cutting to be the most racist thing ever.
Notice how the liberal media made absolutely sure to include race in their headlines.
TMZ headlined this story “White Ref Forces Black H.S. Wrestler TO CUT DREADLOCKS.”
That’s to say nothing of the social media warriors who stepped up on their soapboxes to slam the incident. Noted race-baiter Shaun King was one of the most vocal critics to speak out.
Disgusting and heartbreaking. A referee known for his racism, Alan Maloney (google him), made high school wrestler Andrew Johnson cut off his dreads or lose the match. They were covered and gave him no advantage. So he cut them off. He won the match. Never should’ve been allowed. pic.twitter.com/ChMXPBzHPk
— Shaun King (@shaunking) December 21, 2018
• • • • •
So…this referee, Alan Maloney, demanded that this black wrestler, Andrew Johnson, CUT OFF HIS LOCS or else he can’t participate in the match. This is straight up racial discrimination, and this isn’t Maloney’s first overt act of raci… pic.twitter.com/iBIqRNubYB
— It’s Grave (@Itisgrave) December 21, 2018
What happened to Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson was beyond disgusting. A whole system broke this boy’s spirit. These are what these systems are designed to do, break us and to operate they need compliance from our “allies”
— Randolph Terrance (@realtalkforyou) December 21, 2018
They need to chill out and learn exactly what rules were in place at the time of this incident.
As the Courier-Post notes, “According to the National Federation of State High School Associations, wrestlers’ hair cannot extend past the earlobes. If it does, they must wear a legal hair cap to cover it.”
Oh, Johnson was wearing a cap? Back to the Courier-Post: “Johnson was wearing a cap, but it wasn’t attached to the headgear as the rule requires, according to Buena graduate Ron Roberts, a wrestling referee of more than 20 years.”
“The interpretation of the rule was applied correctly,” Roberts, who hadn’t seen the video but had heard of the incident, told the Post-Courier. “The kid had to have legal head cover by rule or he’s got to cut his hair.”
“It’s the same thing about kids not properly shaving,” he added. “If a kid hasn’t shaved, he has to shave before the match starts. And if he doesn’t, he has a minute and a half to correct it and it’s a point that goes to his opponent.”
Look, I wrestled in high school. I also had long hair in high school. I’ve had to get horribly ugly and impromptu haircuts minutes before a big match to be in compliance with state wrestling rules. It comes with the territory and is a big reason so many wrestlers just go with the shaved head look. Not once during an unscheduled haircut did I ever think to myself, “Gee, this referee must hate Asians.”
It’s absurd and a sad microcosm of the incessant race-baiting in 2018 that this is even going viral. It also says a lot about 2018 that the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association is investigating Maloney for enforcing the rules.
NJSIAA Statement/ Buena Wrestling pic.twitter.com/riBc716dG9
— NJSIAA (@NJSIAA) December 21, 2018
To his credit, Johnson, a junior, won his wrestling match for Buena Regional High School. Again, as someone who’s wrestled, I can attest to the grueling training regimen and hard work wrestlers have to put in.
It’s an unabashed shame that all of Johnson’s efforts and his victory are being overshadowed by the hollow cries of racism that ring all too frequently in 2018.
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