Cultural disrespect under the guise of sports officiating is exposed.
New Jersey high school wrestling referee Alan Maloney committed the ultimate cultural violation. The referee forced wrestler Andrew Johnson to cut his locked hair or forfeit his wrestling match on Wednesday. However, Johnson came with his hair covered in a wrap for the 120lb match.
Still, Maloney insisted he cut off his hair. Although the Buena Regional High Schooler won 41-24 by sudden victory in OT, the incident is culturally unacceptable. Unfortunately, it is only the most recent in a pattern for Maloney.
A Disturbing Pattern
This isn’t the first time that Maloney was connected to racism within the HS wrestling community, a sport which has had it’s own issues with racism. In 2016, he allegedly directed a racial slur at African American referee, Preston Hamilton, during a social event for officials. According to reports, Maloney allegedly poked Hamilton in the chest and allegedly used a racial slur during an argument over homemade wine. Hamilton slammed Maloney to the ground.
Hamilton reported the incident but was suspended one year for assaulting Maloney. Maloney agreed to participate in sensitivity training and an alcohol awareness program and was also suspended for one year. Both officials appealed their suspensions which were eventually overturned.
The reporter who broke the story, Mike Frankel, is being blasted on Twitter for calling the video an example of the “Epitome of a team player” in his tweet. He release a follow up tweet to apologize for his poor description and complete misunderstanding of what the situation really consisted of. But he also included some additional information on the situation, stating “the wrestler’s coaches argued the referee’s decision for several minutes, until the referee started the injury time clock. At this point, the wrestler removed the cap, and agreed to have his hair cut.”
But that is another example of Maloney’s horrendous, ignorant, intimidating behavior.
While his latest infraction is currently being inspected, Maloney’s abuse of power appears to have gone under the radar for some time. It’s unfortunate that a young Black man has become a victim to an older white man’s insecurity around people of color.