‘What Would You Do?’: Coach forces wrestler to cut his hair

A white coach demands a barber cut a black student athlete’s braids. The student becomes upset, but the coach says short hair will avoid potential issues with the refs. What will customers think?
9:46 | 08/24/19

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Transcript for ‘What Would You Do?’: Coach forces wrestler to cut his hair
Shave it all off. All off? Coach, I thought we just had to trim a little bit. No, those braids have to go. The referees are going to be watching all of us, and I don't want any issues whatsoever at our next match. I can tie my hair up. I can wear a cap. I don't want to talk about this anymore. Chop them off. It was a moment that went viral. A high school wrestler forced to make a choice. Cut his hair or forfeit the match. Disgust tonight over this video now circulating the internet of this moment of humiliation, New Jersey high school wrestler Andrew Johnson having his dreadlocks cut by a trainer before a match. The school district's superintendent said in a statement, "The referee will no longer be permitted to officiate any contest that include student athletes from their district." We're at precision hair studio in old bridge, New Jersey, just 90 miles from where this took place. And today it's a coach who's calling for a cut. This isn't fair, coach. I don't want to do this. You see this high school coach forcing a young black athlete to cut his braids. Do you side with the coach, who says it's just hair, it will ro grow back? Or do you side with the young man who says that act represents so much more than just a haircut. "What would you do?" What's the big deal? I've wrestled with this hair before. Look at me. Either you cut your hair, or you're off the team. Our hidden cameras are rolling. And it's time for Khouri's appointment. What you getting, a trim? Just a trim. No, you're not getting a trim. Coach? No, no, no, all off. This customer starts to listen in. Khouri, you're one of my best wrestlers. You need to cut your hair. That's the end of it. Coach, this is my identity. This is who I am. Now he jumps in with a suggestion. Can't you get the covering? I coached for a few years. It's obviously really important to him. I'm sorry. They're distracting to everyone. As long as it's attached to your headgear -- Would you believe our first customer of the day is a onetime wrestling coach? And he's able to offer firsthand expertise on the subject. I'm trying not to interfere here but I'm listening to him. I just, I don't want the braids in the way. Look at them. No, got to go. Have Roy go somewhere. And Khouri makes eye contact. And when our coach leaves the shop -- I want that cut. Excuse me. -- The former coach turns his attention to our teen. Dude, don't do anything you don't want to do. He says if I don't cut my hair then I can't be on the team. That's , dude. How old are you? 14. You've got to be Kidding me. Get out of the chair. He wants to have a talk, one-on-one, with our coach. Can I please talk to you for No, you can talk to me right here. You do not need your freaking name in a paper because you paid a kid, a 14-year-old sitting in a barbershop getting his hair cut. Well, it's not going to be in the paper if you don't say anything. I'm not making any phone calls after this but -- Good. -- If that kid gets his hair cut I'm not sure what I would do afterwards. Have Roy ask him, "Why are you getting involved?" Why are you getting so involved? Because this is insane. He's 14, he's a kid that just wants to wrestle. I think we should break it. This is horrible. I'm sorry I got involved, but I had to say something. Don't be sorry you got involved. I'm John Quinones. . Why did you get involved? I wrestled for about ten years or S I coached for four. I just had a real issue with what happened down in south Jersey. We're dealing with young kids who are just trying to have fun and be -- the nonsense over policing their hair is absolutely insane. It's uncomfortable for a lot of people because there's a racial element to it. I'm a white dude, so I don't want to speak too much here, but Jordan Burroughs, he's an olympian, he's written a lot about this on social media. Jordan Burroughs, he's a gold medal-winning wrestler and world champion. After that incident, he took to social media to express his outrage. A young black man in a traditionally and predominantly caucasian sport, out there defenseless. You guys got to help this young man. You got to protect him. And now, will this next set of customers protect young Khouri? What you getting done? Trim. No, no, no, no, no. Sir? Off. They watch the entire match pa play out. You told me that yesterday. No, you said that. But when Khouri asks for their take -- Can you guys believe my coach? They have nothing to say. Nobody seems to want to weigh in. Did you feel like saying something? I did, but I want to just mind my own business. I felt bad, but what can I do? I kind of felt bad for him, you know. Like, hair's one of those things that's yours. It's expression that's unique to everybody. Throughout the day many people do speak up. Can we discuss this first? There's nothing to discuss, Khouri. You're cutting your hair or you're off the team. You can't cut his hair without him saying yes. That's how it works on my team, young man. And that's the end of it. That's definitely not how it works. I'm glad I'm not on your team. Have the coach say, "I'll cut it." Then I'll do it. Yo, Jay. Jay, you can't let him cut his hair. Look, it won't be too bad. Yo, what am I watching? I should have come a different day. Think of your scholarship. I really don't want to get kicked off the team. Wrestling is my passion. You're not getting your hair cut off. I'm serious. I'm not going to let that happen. Some making sure Khouri has a way out. Either here or when you get home. Don't even sweat it. I'll give you the ride home. I'm no stranger, trust me. We're around the same age. It's time for our last appointment of the day. I'm the coach, right? You're the wrestler. All off, please. My mom doesn't even know that we're shaving it all off, coach. Can I call her? The coach tries to recruit some allies. Do you believe this? I can't believe you. I'm sorry? I can't believe you. But the opposing team speaks up. It's his hair. Is it really that big of a deal? And from the other side of the shop, this woman jumps into the conversation. You really need to reconsider that. With all due respect, mind your own business, please. You're disrespecting him. I can tie it up. You don't have to listen to him. You can do whatever you want. And you should be able to call your mother. She has my number. She is not going to answer. Yes. Ma'am, please mind your business. He's my business as of now. She offers up her phone -- Call your mom. Whatever she says, that's what it is. Giving Khouri a chance to call for help. Do you think my hair is okay? Your hair is beautiful. But your mother makes the decision, not me. If you were my child, it's different, you're not. Your mother needs to make the decision. I'll call her. You want me to call her? What's the number? Just put the number and I'll speak to her. Okay. Since he wants to bully you in front of everybody. His mother put me -- I will speak to her. Roy, say, "Cut it." Cut it. Cut it now. Don't cut it yet. I'm speaking to his mother. She makes the decision. It's a face-off between the coach and these caring strangers. I'm the coach. Cut it. Don't cut his hair. You're not his dad, you're I don't care if you're the coach, you're nobody. Don't cut it. And she's not settling for anything less than victory. He's bullying him to cut his hair and saying he is not going to be on the team. And this young man looks very good. Right, I agree. I'll let him know. Thank you. She said if you cut his hair you're going to have a problem with her. Let's go. That's his mom. Hi, ma'am. You guys set me up. How are you? We can see your -- I don't believe it. You were upset. I'm about to cry. About to cry? Absolutely. That's my son. He's autistic. I adopted him. Beautiful. If I saw anybody bullying him like he was being bullied I would, if I weren't in this shop and I respect this owner, I would have punched him. I would have gone to jail for him. Some might say it's none of your business. It is my business. He's a young man that was afraid to speak up for himself. The way I saw it. And it's up to me as a parent, a caring parent, to step in and speak up for someone that doesn't have a voice. But he was a stranger. It doesn't matter. He's still my son. Everybody is my son in here. Everybody. What's the moral of the story We need to speak up for each other. We need to be more caring, and we need to do the right thing no matter what it costs.

This transcript has been automatically generated and may not be 100% accurate.

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