Group urges faster action after New Jersey wrestler's dreadlocks cut

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Group urges faster action after NJ wrestler's dreadlocks cut. Walter Perez reports during Action News at 5pm on January 15, 2019.

A New Jersey organization says a wrestling referee who made a wrestler cut his dreadlocks or forfeit a match isn't being punished enough.

A video of the incident last month went viral.

The referee responsible was banned from officiating any more wrestling matches in New Jersey until further notice by the NJSIAA.

But officials from the National Awareness Alliance gathered Tuesday in Robbinsville to say that is simply not enough.

"Implicit racism has no place in scholastic athletics. This is the reason why we are here: calling for the permanent revocation of Alan Maloney's officiating license," said Walter Hudson of the National Awareness Alliance.

The wrestler, 16-year-old Andrew Johnson from Buena Regional High School, was told to cut his dreadlocks moments before a match or be disqualified.

RELATED: N.J. high school wrestler now focuses on match instead of hair

That order came from referee Alan Maloney, who said he was doing nothing more than enforcing the rules related to hair length.

It was later revealed that Johnson, who is black, had a cover over his hair and that Maloney, who is white, was late to the weigh-in when this issue should have been resolved.

Maloney's handling of the situation has since been described as racist, cruel, and humiliating.

RELATED: High school wrestler forced to cut dreads returns to action

In response to the call to revoke Maloney's referee license, the NJSIAA released a statement reading in part:

"While the NJSIAA shares the public's desire for a speedy resolution to this serious matter, it also is strongly committed to taking as much time as necessary to ensure all aspects of the situation have been assessed."

Maloney was disciplined for using a racial slur against another referee two years ago. He later apologized and was ordered to undergo sensitivity training.

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