When news broke about a Caucasian wrestling referee who demanded that a black high school wrestler remove the hair cap covering his dreadlocks and chop off his hair right there on the mat before his match or else forfeit, a flurry of angry people took to Twitter. One of the most outspoken people so far has been UFC welterweight champ Tyron Woodley.
High school wrestler Andrew Johnson has wrestled with dreadlocks all season long. But when Johnson walked out onto the mat to compete this week in the 120-pound weight class, he was informed by Caucasian referee Alan Maloney, who supposedly has a history of alleged racist behavior, that he had to cut his dreadlocks or else forfeit his match during a dual meet between Buena Regional High School in New Jersey and Oakcrest High School.
Woodley was infuriated when he heard what had happened, reports TMZ. Before becoming a UFC champion, Tyron was an All-American wrestler at the University of Missouri and a standout high school wrestler, too.
“When I wrestled, I had the biggest, most ridiculous afro ever. I had corn rows,” he said. “When I was growing up, if you had a big afro … you had to have some sort of cover to wrestle … it just goes to show that (others) don’t understand the culture.”
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
Woodley insisted that the ref, Alan Maloney, should have been fired years ago when another incident revealed that he possesses racist tendencies. According to social media posts and NJ Advance Media staff writers, Maloney hurled a racial slur at a fellow referee who is black during a social gathering of athletic officials in March 2016.
Maloney was arguing about homemade wine made at a Jersey Shore condo where athletic officials gathered following a youth tournament in Wildwood. Maloney allegedly jabbed another official, Preston Hamilton, in the chest, reported MSN News. Hamilton then slammed Maloney to the ground over the remark, SNJ Today News shared.
The Inquisitr learned that after Hamilton reported the incident, Maloney agreed to participate in sensitivity training and an alcohol awareness program, because he said he didn’t remember the altercation due to excessive drinking. Maloney was supposed to be suspended for one year for the use of the racial slur and Hamilton would receive the same suspension for assaulting Maloney, MSN News stated. However, both officials appealed their suspensions, which were overturned.
Woodley told TMZ that he’s “sick of people with a history of racist behavior being allowed to have positions of authority.” He demanded that the officials in charge of New Jersey referees ban Maloney from being on the mat again.
“There are so many different referees to choose from … they can really get rid of him. He shouldn’t be reffing anymore. You’re teaching a lesson that someone who is willing to degrade another nationality is allowed to be in a position of authority,” Woodley said.
The champion also had some advice for Johnson who stood solemnly on the mat, his head dropped down low, while another person chopped away at his dreadlocks with scissors, shared NJ.com. Johnson went on to beat his opponent with a sudden takedown. His school then won the match, 41–24.
“One, I respect you and I admire your ability to focus on the task at hand in a high pressure situation and whoop that kids ***. This ain’t gonna be the first or the last time. Get used to it. Don’t accept it, but find a way to maneuver around it,” Woodley said. “Your success will be based upon you.”
Video of the incident posted to Twitter by Mike Frankel of SNJ Today News sparked outrage on social media. People called for Maloney to be disciplined or fired, just like Woodley. According to Frankel, Johnson’s coaches argued with the referee about his decision for several minutes until Maloney started the injury time clock. At that time, the wrestler was forced to decide what to do. He was already wearing a hair cap, but then removed it and agreed to have his hair cut.