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The New Jersey high school wrestler who was forced to cut his dreadlocks did so because the referee was tardy and missed his weigh-in, the teen's attorney claims.
Video went viral last week showing Andrew Johnson subjected to the impromptu hair cut on the orders of referee Alan Maloney before his match competing for Buena Regional High School.
Johnson - Family - Attorney - Dominic - Speziali
The Johnson family's attorney Dominic Speziali issued a statement Monday claiming the issue could have been avoided far before the match were Maloney present for the weigh-in.
'Andrew was visibly shaken after he and his coaches made every effort to satisfy the referee short of having his hair cut,' the statement read. 'But, as captured on video, the unyielding referee gave Andrew 90 seconds to either forfeit his match or cut his hair.
'Under - Duress - Influence - Staff - Trainer
'Under duress but without any influence from the coaching staff or the athletic trainer, Andrew decided to have his hair cut rather than forfeit the match.'
'The scholastic wrestling rules clearly state that referees are to inspect wrestlers appearance and determine any rules violations prior to the start of the meet, typically during weigh-ins,' Speziali said. 'The referee here was late to the meet and missed weigh-ins. When he did evaluate Andrew, he failed to raise any issues with the length of his hair or the need to wear a head covering.'
National - Federation - State - High - School
According to the National Federation of State High School Associations rules, a wrestler's hair 'shall extend no lower than the top of an ordinary shirt collar in the back, shall not extend no lower than earlobe level on the sides, and shall not extend below the eyebrows in the front.'
It goes on to state that hair outside of the guidelines shall be contained in a 'legal hair covering or the wrestler shall not compete.'
'As Andrew took...
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