New Jersey Athlete Forced to Cut His Long Dreadlocks, Spark Racist Debates; people Share the Importance of Their Hair.

A video of a New Jersey wrestler who was forced to cut off his dreadlocks minutes before his match after a referee refused to let him compete with a helmet has drawn much anger on social media platforms. 
The clip which is going viral was tweeted by a local reporter which shows the Buena Regional High School wrestler identified as Andrew Johnson getting his long haircut on the court-side. The sportsperson won the match but visibly appeared to be distraught with such a brutal act. Raged netizens are now sharing the importance of their hair and accused the referee of displaying racial bias. “The hardest thing I’ve ever seen.. he is good now...but that was brutal emotionally and physically,” Rose Santiago-Johnson, the mother of High School junior wrote on Facebook. The mom and her son have received full support from the viewers that include famous activists and celebrities. The young athlete was in a dual meet against Oakcrest High School in Hamilton. The referee identified as 62-year-old Alan Maloney in media outlets ordered him to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit because his hair was not in compliance with wrestling regulations. According to the National Federation of State High Schools Associations Situation 17, natural hair that is non-abrasive is allowed but should be “contained in a legal hair cover.”It was even reported that accused Maloney was previously involved in a racist argument over a homemade wine in 2016. Many on social media firmly noted that Johnson is black and the fact that he had to cut off his hair showcased obvious racist practices that are enacted towards black hairstyles. Seeing the spewing results, the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association directed the NJ Wrestling Officials Association that schools could ask Maloney not to referee at their matches. On the other hand, the school superintendent said in a letter to the community that they support and stand by all the student-athletes. Superintendent David Cappuccio stated that “The student-athlete made the decision to have his hair cut, at that moment, in order to avoid a forfeiture of the match.” The incident is under investigation. 
✔@CPyles8Replying to @CPyles8 
Special equipment is supposed to be inspected at that point and was not, an error by the official. Also, the notion that dreads are not natural makes no sense. They are by definition natural. 
Christian Pyles✔@CPyles8 
There is some verbiage about "natural state" but it only addresses length, which Maloney said Johnson had no issues with. pic. 
Netizens Fumed in Anger. 
âpihtawikosisân✔@apihtawikosisan 
Cutting someone's hair without permission is a physical (and for many people, a spiritual) assault. 
VA DuVernay✔@ava 
I don’t just wear locs. They are a part of me. A gift to me. They mean something to me. So to watch this young man’s ordeal wrecked me. The criminalization of what grows from him. The theft of what was his. Two hours of calls w/ officials yesterday. Two hours of heartache. 
Clair Galron@WowSoClair 
Also, to the blonde with the scissors: why does she think she can attack his hair like that? I bet she would never let anyone carelessly hack off her ponytail, why doesn't she think he would also want his hair treated with care? Importance of Natural Hair. 
Ava DuVernay✔@ava 
I don’t just wear locs. They are a part of me. A gift to me. They mean something to me. So to watch this young man’s ordeal wrecked me. The criminalization of what grows from him. The theft of what was his. Two hours of calls w/ officials yesterday. Two hours of heartache. 
TODAY✔@TODAYshow 
A New Jersey high school wrestling referee has been benched after forcing wrestler Andrew Johnson to either cut his dreadlocks or forfeit the match. Johnson chose to compete. Outrage over the incident has grown on social media. 
Spiritual Connections. 
Jo Kaur✔@SikhFeminist 
Sikhs - who also hold a deep spiritual connection with natural hair - understand this well. Our hair - kesh - represents spirituality, a reminder of our commitment to the values of our faith. 
Ava DuVernay✔@ava 
I don’t just wear locs. They are a part of me. A gift to me. They mean something to me. So to watch this young man’s ordeal wrecked me. The criminalization of what grows from him. The theft of what was his. Two hours of calls w/ officials yesterday. Two hours of heartache.A Writer Explains Why She Absolutely Loves Her Natural Hair. 
Akilah Green✔@akilahgreen 
I haven’t been able to watch this video. A friend recently asked if I’d ever straightened my hair, which I haven’t done in 16 years. The decision to wear my hair naturally is so personal and political and a reflection of who I am at my core that the THOUGHT caused me physical pain. 
NBC News✔@NBCNews 
A New Jersey referee who forced a high-school wrestler to cut his dreadlocks right before a match has been barred from further officiating, pending an investigation into the incident, school district officials said. 
This Is Violence! 
Michaela Angela Davis✔@MichaelaAngelaD 
Our hair is a metaphor for our identity. This is violence, inflicted for generations...casually witnessed daily. I hope his family is preparing a spectacular lawsuit. 
Ava DuVernay✔@ava 
I don’t just wear locs. They are a part of me. A gift to me. They mean something to me. So to watch this young man’s ordeal wrecked me. The criminalization of what grows from him. The theft of what was his. Two hours of calls w/ officials yesterday. Two hours of heartache. 
Karen@eclectickaren 
I can not understand what the locs mean to him. But watching the video once literally made my stomach clench. It’s such an aggressive violation of self. They just grab part of him and start hacking away. Every adult with any authority that stood there and watched should be ashamed. 
Some Are Devastated. 
Ryan Mason@masonry 
This is heartbreaking. To be made to feel that you are inherently wrong and bad just because you’re different is something no one should be subjected to. I’ve had long hair a lot of my life and if anyone chopped it off without my permission I’d have been devastated. 
Ava DuVernay✔@ava 
I don’t just wear locs. They are a part of me. A gift to me. They mean something to me. So to watch this young man’s ordeal wrecked me. The criminalization of what grows from him. The theft of what was his. Two hours of calls w/ officials yesterday. Two hours of heartache.