A bill that requires sensitivity training for coaches, officials and other sports staff was passed in New Jersey Thursday, according to a reporter with NBC10-Philadelphia.
Assemblyman Benjie Wimberly, D-Passaic said the bill was partially inspired by a white referee forcing biracial Buena (N.J.) Regional High School wrestler, Andrew Johnson, to cut his hair before a match, according to WHYY-FM.
The New Jersey General Assembly today passed a bill directing the state education commissioner to develop a sensitivity training program for HS athletic directors, coaches, & officials. This comes after a white ref asked a biracial wrestler to cut his dreadlocks. @NBCPhiladelphia
— Ricky ”Reports” Sayer (@RickyReports) June 27, 2019
The video, where Johnson had to cut his hair or forfeit the match, then ended up winning the match, went viral on Twitter and sparked a national controversy on race.
The state Attorney General’s Office and the New Jersey Interscholastic Athletic Association are still investigating, and in the meantime, the referee is not allowed to officiate.
The referee has since claimed “emotional distress” from the incident, and has said that he suffered $100,000 in damages as a result of the decision to force the wrestler to cut his hair.
Note: This story has been updated to include new information.