Virginia Referee Banned After Inspecting 10-Year-Old Basketball Player's Braids

The young athlete's mother said her daughter just wants to play the sport she loves

A referee is banned from officiating children's basketball games in a Virginia city after he singled out a girl who was wearing a common African-American hairstyle.

The 10-year-old wore braids with blue weave during a basketball game in Chesapeake on Saturday, WAVY-TV reported Monday

Erica Guerrier, who coaches her daughter's team, says the ref pointed to the girl's hair and said, mistakenly, that hair weaves are against the rules. Guerrier says the referee made an unnecessary spectacle of her daughter.

"At the end of the day, they're 9 and 10, so why does it even matter?" the mother said in an exclusive interview with WAVY-TV. 

Virginia High School League Executive Director Billy Haun says the referee should not have raised his concern publicly.

Hampton Roads Basketball Association commissioner Rick Ennis says the incident is under investigation and the referee won't be working future games in Chesapeake.

Guerrier said she wants an apology for her daughter. She said she's frustrated by incidents related to athletics and African-Americans' hair. Just weeks earlier, a white referee forced a 16-year-old high school wrestler in New Jersey to either have his dreadlocks cut off or forfeit a match.

"I'm hoping that if the refs can get more education, more training, than we can see a decrease in these issues," Guerrier said.

The mom said her daughter just wants to play the sport she loves.

"Basketball's her passion. That's what she does," she said.

Copyright AP - Associated Press
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