A referee allegedly forced a student athlete to cut his dreadlocks or forfeit a high school wrestling match in New Jersey on Thursday, according to local station SNJ Today.

A video tweeted by the station's news division's sports director shows the Buena High School student, Andrew Johnson, getting his dreadlocks cut during a dual meet on Thursday night.

The sports director notes in his tweet that the referee wouldn't allow Johnson to wrestle by covering his dreadlocks. 


"It was either an impromptu haircut, or a forfeit. Johnson chose the haircut, then won by sudden victory in OT to help spark Buena to a win," the news director wrote.

The video sparked outrage, and local media have identified the referee as Alan Maloney, who reportedly came under scrutiny in March 2016 for using a racial slur at a social gathering with other officials, according to NJ.com

Maloney had reportedly used the slur in a disagreement with a fellow referee, Preston Hamilton – who is African-American, NJ.com reported. Hamilton then reportedly slammed Maloney to the ground over the remark.

However, Maloney, who is white, later told the Courier Post after the incident that he does not remember using the racial epithet at all that night.

Since footage of the Thursday match has emerged online, many on social media have called for Maloney to face punishment. 

Some also questioned why the student athlete wasn’t given the option to cover his hair for the match as other wrestlers with long hair have done.

New Jersey's governing body for the state's high school sports reportedly recommended on Friday that Maloney be sidelined from future matches until the incident undergoes a thorough review, according to NJ.com.

The athletic organization has reportedly referred the mattered to New Jersey Division on Civil Rights. A spokesman for the state’s attorney general’s office confirmed to NJ.com that the civil rights division has opened an investigation into the incident.

— Updated 5:53 p.m.