Oklahoma announcer calls high school girls’ basketball team racial slur while players kneel during national anthem

Matt Rowan says he is a Type 1 diabetic and when he blood sugar is spiking he sometimes says things he doesn’t mean. The announcer offered a “sincere apology” to everyone involved in the game and said it’s “not unusual” for him to become disoriented and say inappropriate things. “While the comments I made would certainly seem to indicate that I am a racist, I am not,” he said. “I have never considered myself to be racist, and in short cannot explain why I made those comments.” On Thursday, the Norman High School girls’ basketball team was playing Midwest City in the Oklahoma 6A state basketball tournament when the incident took place. The game was being livestreamed by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Network.

“F— them, I hope they lose,” he said. “They’re going to kneel like that? Hell no.”

“F—— n——,” he later said. Footage captured the comments during the online broadcast. There was a quick outraged from the local community and Norman School District.

“We condemn and will not tolerate the disgusting words and attitudes of these announcers,” Norman Superintendent Nick Migliorino said in a statement. “This type of hate speech has no place in our society and we are outraged that it would be directed at any human being, and particularly at our students.”The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association contracted the broadcast crew to announce the state tournament on the NFHS Network. The association said the crew will not be doing any games for the remainder of its championships.

“This kind of behavior will never be tolerated by anyone representing the NFHS or OSSAA,” OSSAA Executive Director David Jackson said in a statement. “State tournament playoffs are a special time for our schools, their students, and their communities, and anything that is counter-productive to education-based activities will be addressed immediately and appropriately.”

The NFHS Network cut ties with the production crew, and apologized for the remarks.

“The thoughts expressed in no way represent our network, and we are outraged that they found their way into the production,” the network said in a statement. “The NFHS Network firmly condemns racism, hate and discrimination. We also deeply apologize to the students, their families, and the entire community for having such ignorant and hurtful comments expressed during the broadcast.”

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