A referee who told a black varsity wrestler to cut off his dreadlocks or forfeit a match this month was the subject of a 2016 investigation that involved him calling a fellow referee a racial slur, according to a source from the New Jersey Wrestling Officials Association.
Alan Maloney received a one-year suspension for the 2016 incident, the source said.
Because the incident did not occur at an athletic event, the suspension was overturned on appeal after the NJWOA ruled it has no jurisdiction over happened, according to the Courier Post, a newspaper that covers Southern New Jersey.
Maloney told the newspaper that he did not remember saying the racial slur to his colleague. But he said he believed him and apologized to him.
Maloney has been accused of exhibiting racial bias for telling Buena Regional High School wrestler Andrew Johnson to cut his hair if he wanted to compete in the match.
Video of a trainer cutting Jackson’s hair in the middle of the gym went viral, prompting criticism from professional athletes and celebrities. The New Jersey Division of Civil Rights is investigating the incident and the Buena Regional Board of Education said it will not send its teams to events the referee is officiating.
According to a letter from the school district Superintendent David Cappuccio Jr., the wrestler chose to have his hair cut rather than forfeit the match after the referee told him his hair and headgear were not in compliance with league regulations.
CNN has made multiple attempts to reach Maloney for comment on both the hair-cutting incident and the 2016 racial slur incident.