A video of a New Jersey wrestler who was forced to cut off his dreadlocks minutes before his match after a referee refused to let him complete with a helmet has drawn much anger on social media platforms. The clip which is going viral was tweeted by a local reporter which shows the Buena Regional High School wrestler identified as Andrew Johnson getting his long hair cut on the court-side. The sportsperson won the match but visibly appeared to be distraught with such a brutal act. Raged netizens are now sharing the importance of their hair and accused the referee of displaying racial bias. Ukraine’s Real-Life Rapunzel Hasn’t Cut Her 6-Foot-Long Blonde Hair in 28 Years, Shares Her Secret to Luscious Locks.
“Hardest thing I’ve ever seen.. he is good now.. but that was brutal emotionally and physically,” Rose Santiago-Johnson, the mother of High School junior wrote on Facebook. The mom and her son have received full support from the viewers that include famous activists and celebrities. The young athlete was in a dual meet against Oakcrest High School in Hamilton. The referee identified as 62-year-old Alan Maloney in media outlets ordered him to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit because his hair was not in compliance with wrestling regulations. Curl Shaming: Bengaluru Girl Commits Suicide After Being Teased for 'Incomplete Hair Straightening Treatment'.
Here Is the Video of the Brutal Act
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
According to the National Federation of State High Schools Associations Situation 17, natural hair that is non-abrasive is allowed but should be “contained in a legal hair cover.”
There is some verbiage about "natural state" but it only addresses length, which Maloney said Johnson had no issues with. pic.twitter.com/gi3TUz3xIj
— Christian Pyles (@CPyles8) December 22, 2018
It was even reported that accused Maloney was previously involved in a racist argument over a homemade wine in 2016. Many on social media firmly noted that Johnson is black and the fact that he had to cut off his hair showcased obvious racist practices that are enacted towards black hairstyles.
Netizens Fumed in Anger.
Cutting someone's hair without permission is a physical (and for many people, a spiritual) assault.
— âpihtawikosisân (@apihtawikosisan) December 22, 2018
Also, to the blonde with the scissors: why does she think she can attack his hair like that? I bet she would never let anyone carelessly hack off her ponytail, why doesn't she think he would also want his hair treated with care? 😡
— Clair Galron (@WowSoClair) December 22, 2018
Importance of Natural Hair.
I don’t just wear locs. They are a part of me. A gift to me. They mean something to me. So to watch this young man’s ordeal, wrecked me. The criminalization of what grows from him. The theft of what was his. Two hours of calls w/ officials yesterday. Two hours of heartache. https://t.co/KcVX1hBoTn
— Ava DuVernay (@ava) December 22, 2018
Sikhs - who also hold a deep spiritual connection with natural hair - understand this well. Our hair - kesh - represents spirituality, a reminder of our commitment to the values of our faith. https://t.co/H41WtdRfKS
— Jo Kaur (@SikhFeminist) December 22, 2018
A Writer Explains Why She Absolutely Loves Her Natural Hair.
I haven’t been able to watch this video. A friend recently asked if I’d ever straighten my hair, which I haven’t done in 16 years. The decision to wear my hair naturally is so personal and political and a reflection of who I am at my core that the THOUGHT caused me physical pain. https://t.co/EqpacPd4ZD
— Akilah Green (@akilahgreen) December 22, 2018
This Is Violence!
Our hair is a metaphor for our identity. This is violence, inflicted for generations...casually witnessed daily. I hope his family is preparing a spectacular lawsuit. https://t.co/kNsXV3M56l
— MichaelaAngela Davis (@MichaelaAngelaD) December 22, 2018
I can not understand what the locs mean to him. But watching the video once literally made my stomach clench. It’s such an argressive violation of self. They just grab part of him and start hacking away. Ever adult with any authority that stood there and watched should be ashamed
— Karen (@eclectickaren) December 22, 2018
Some Are Devastated.
This is heartbreaking. To be made to feel that you are inherently wrong and bad just because you’re different is something no one should be subjected to. I’ve had long hair a lot of my life and if anyone chopped it off without my permission I’d have been devastated. 1/ https://t.co/smWm6rmLj3
— Ryan Mason (@masonry) December 22, 2018
Seeing the spewing results, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association directed the NJ Wrestling Officials Association that schools could ask Maloney not to referee at their matches. On the other hand, the school superintendent said in a letter to the community that they support and stand by all the student-athletes. Superintendent David Cappuccio stated that, “The student-athlete made the decision to have his hair cut, at that moment, in order to avoid a forfeiture of the match.” The incident is under investigation.