This latest installment of the Real Racism series concerns alan maloney, who referees high school wrestling matches.
On December 19th, maloney was the referee for a match in the southern New Jersey town of Buena. One of the participants, Andrew Johnson, was a Black student who wore dreadlocks.
Long hair is not allowed in high school wrestling matches. So when a student’s hair is an issue, he is expected to wear a hat – which young Mr. Johnson had.
But maloney decided that wasn’t good enough. He demanded that the hair be cut right there, on the spot, or that Johnson would forfeit the match for himself and his team.
Not wanting to create the problem for his team, but with obvious – understandable – personal anguish, not to mention humiliation, Johnson allowed the team’s trainer to take a scissors and cut his hair down right there, in front of everyone.
Was this fair? Was this right?
Well, according to the article linked above, wearing the cap used to be fine by itself, but now it is required that the hat be attached to the wrestler’s headgear. So, in the most technical sense, this ruling was correct.
However, there is no indication that maloney tried to resolve the issue by telling Johnson or his coach to either attach the hat to his headgear or find headgear that was acceptable. He just demanded the hair be cut or the match be forfeited.
That being the case, the answers to those questions are no, it wasn’t fair and no, it wasn’t right.
But was it racial? Did maloney act this way because he was just being a hyper-anal jerk or did Johnson’s skin color have something to do with it?
Well, maybe the answer lies in the fact that, just two years ago, maloney called a Black referee a nigger. He then, about as lamely as it gets, claimed he didn’t remember saying it…but acknowledged that, ok, since other people heard him, maybe he did.
Knowing this, I’d say there’s a pretty clear answer to that racial question.
And as long as we’re asking questions, here are two more for you:
-Why, after tossing out that word at a Black referee, was alan maloney allowed to continue refereeing high school wrestling matches – especially when there were Black participants?
-Why, after this latest incident, is he STILL being allowed to referee them?
Larry White, executive director of the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association has issued a statement saying:
“As a precautionary measure, given the degree of attention being focused on this matter, the NJSIAA will recommend to chapter officials that the referee in question not be assigned to any event until this matter has been reviewed more thoroughly in order to avoid potential distractions for the competing wrestlers.”
Recommend he not be assigned to referee wrestling events? Recommend??? Not suspend, just make a suggestion – which means the NJSIAA is OK with him refereeing events before the hearing takes place, presumably including matches between Black and non-Black competitors? Before there is any determination of whether he acted with racial malice?
Are these people stupid?? Or is the reason something a lot worse than stupidity?
Real racism. It comes in all forms from all sources. No group is immune to it or from it. Certainly not a high school wrestling referee who behaves this way, and certainly not a high school wrestling association that can’t figure out that decisive action must be taken about it – or, far worse, is OK with the behavior which merits that decisive action.