Topic: Media Research Center
The Media Reserach Center's Bill D'Agostino devoted a Dec. 27 post to bashing "liberal media outlets" for reporting on a incident in which a (black) New Jersey high school wrestler getting a ringside haircut of his dreadlocks on orders of a (white) referee. He sneers that this was "the world's most racist haircut," then tries to pretend there's no issue here:
There’s just one problem: such occurrences are fairly commonplace in high school wrestling.
Wrestling is a heavily regulated sport, and participants are subject to very specific standards of decorum and dress. Before matches, the athletes are checked for skin lesions and have their hair and nails inspected to ensure that they are the proper length – that is, very short.
The NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) 2019 rules interpretation booklet says the following about “non-abrasive” braided hair: “If the hair in its natural state is longer than allowed by rule, then it must be contained in a legal hair cover. (4-2-1)”
For unknown reasons, the referee determined that the young wrestler's hair covering was not legal. Liberal reporters then concluded with alarming certainty that that determination was not only unjust, but also motivated by grotesque racial bias.
Yet for all the outrage it caused, the video of the incident itself is remarkably tame. A coach talks excitedly as the teenager has his hair trimmed by an athletic trainer, and another wrestler walks by to give his teammate an encouraging pre-match high five. Notably absent from the video is any hint of outrage or discomfort on the faces of those observing the scene.
Not only does D'Agostino provide evidence that ringside haircuts are "fairly commonplace," he also omits a couple of inconvenient facts in recounting his version of the story. Notably, the lawyer for the boy's family stated that the boy had wrestled the week before without any incident. Referees are also expected to report any possible rules violations before thte start of the meet, but the referee arrived late and missed the weigh-in period when such things would be addressed.
Instead, D'Agostino mockingly noted that one reporter "shrewdly observed that the teenager had been given no such trouble for his hair during matches earlier in the season. That's certainly a strike against the referee in question – unless, of course, the student’s hair had grown since then, as hair sometimes does."
D'Agostino did concede that "the same referee previously was accused of using a racial slur at a social gathering [in] 2016," so that's something.