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Referee Who Forced Wrestler To Cut Off Dreads Suspended & Under Investigation

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  December 23, 2018 20:59
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T.C. Dantzler (red) throws Cheney Haight (blue) in the Greco-Roman 74kg division championship match during the USA Olympic trials for wrestling and judo on June 14, 2008
The implications of the impromptu haircut are deep.

A high school wrestling match caused some controversy this past week. A Buena Regional High School student named Andrew Johnson faced an unexpected predicament when the referee told him that his hair and headgear were not compliant with regulation. He was asked to cut off his locs on the spot or forfeit the game, according to a statement Friday from the Buena Regional School District. Video footage of the incident sparked outrage. The referee in question has now been barred from officiating any further matches pending an investigation. The New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association released a statement to that effect.

“Regulations regarding hair length and legal hair covers for wrestlers are provided by the National Federation of State High School Associations,” the statement read. “At this point, the NJSIAA is working to determine the exact nature of the incident and whether an infraction occurred.”

Although the young man was hit with apparent discrimination, he thrived and won the round for his team. Mike Frankel tweeted: "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."

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