Ref who forced HS wrestler to cut dreadlocks alleges emotional distress
Mike Frankel/Twitter

The New Jersey referee who forced a high school wrestler to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit a match in December is reportedly taking steps toward filing a lawsuit for defamation of character and emotional distress.

Alan Maloney sent a notice of tort claim to 12 possible defendants alleging he's suffered $100,000 in damages, according to Melanie Burney of the Philadelphia Inquirer. The defendants include the New Jersey State Interscholastic Athletic Association and the Buena School District officials and coaches.

Maloney, who is white, drew widespread criticism after a video surfaced on Twitter of Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson having his dreadlocks cut minutes before a Dec. 19 match.

Maloney has been barred from officiating any meets pending the conclusion of two investigations into the match.

"Mr. Maloney properly performed his duties as the referee and fairly applied the rules governing a wrestling match," Maloney wrote in the notice, dated March 6.

Maloney was previously accused of using a racial slur against another official at a social gathering in 2016. He apologized and volunteered to participate in an alcohol awareness program and sensitivity training.

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Ref who forced HS wrestler to cut dreadlocks alleges emotional distress
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