Olympian rips ref over hair incident
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.”