Olympian rips ref over hair in­ci­dent

San Antonio Express-News (Sunday) - - SPORTS -

An Olympic cham­pion wrestler has reached out to a New Jer­sey high school wrestler who had his dread­locks cut off min­utes be­fore his match af­ter a ref­eree told him to lose the hair­style or for­feit his bout.

Jor­dan Bur­roughs, a 2012 Olympic gold medal­ist and four­time world cham­pion, posted and spoke on so­cial me­dia early Satur­day about the in­ci­dent Wed­nes­day at the Buena Re­gional High School match, say­ing he had never seen any­thing like it in a quar­ter-cen­tury of wrestling.

“This is non­sense,” a mes­sage on Bur­roughs’ twit­ter ac­count said. “My opin­ion is that this was a com­bi­na­tion of an abuse of power, racism, and just plain neg­li­gence.” In a video posted on In­sta­gram, he crit­i­cized par­ents and coach­ing staff at the match for not in­ter­ven­ing, call­ing it “ab­so­lutely shame­ful.”

High school wrestler An­drew John­son, who is black, had a cover over his hair, but ref­eree Alan Maloney, who is white, said that wouldn’t do. John­son went on to win Wed­nes­day’s match but ap­peared vis­i­bly dis­traught. An SNJ To­day re­porter tweeted a video of John­son get­ting his hair cut.

Bur­roughs drew at­ten­tion to his de­meanor, say­ing, “He was hurt­ing, and that wasn’t fair.”

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