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

SICKLERVILLE, N.J. (WPVI) -- Friday night Andrew Johnson wrestled at Timber Creek Regional School in Sicklerville, New Jersey.

No head cover was deemed necessary.

For the first time in a while, the Buena Vista High School junior needed only to focus on his opponent, not his hair.

The controversies with his hair began back on December 19.

Before that match, Johnson's match referee Alan Maloney forced him to cut his locks or forfeit his match.

To this day there are still mixed opinions about the decision.

We didn't speak with anyone who thought the hair should've been cut.

Kevin Jenkins of Timber Creek said, "That was kind of a rash decision for him to cut his own hair."

Mary Ellen Hoff of Timber Creek added, "I think they could have gone about it differently, maybe had a conversation."

The decision was also quickly deemed as racist.

That in part because this wasn't the first racist accusation against Maloney.

Back in 2016 Maloney reportedly called a fellow referee the N-word during an argument at a post-wrestling tournament get together.

But the issues weren't quite done.

This past Wednesday a match scheduled for Buena Vista was postponed after continued confusion over hair.

So the superintendent called things off for fear of a repeat haircut.

After the latest incident Wednesday, the Johnson family attorney issued this letter to the New Jersey Civil Rights Division.

Part of it states "Certain officials have a desire to unnecessarily escalate and prolong this ordeal due on an unrelenting fixation on the hair of a 16-year-old young man that asked for absolutely none of this."

The letter also includes the current rule on hair.

"In its natural state, it shall not extend below the top of an ordinary shirt collar in the back; and on the sides the hair shop not extend below ear lobe level; in the front, the hair show not extend below the eyebrows.

His attorney also included a picture of Johnson before he was forced to cut his hair.

The attorney's argument is Johnson's hair already met the length requirements.

Since this happened Maloney has been suspended.

There was a rules official at tonight's match to oversee things.

And there are also investigations being done by the sports government body and the New Jersey Civil Rights Division.

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