general-basketball.jpg
USATSI

Moments before the start of a girl's high school basketball game between Norman High School and Midwest City in the Oklahoma 6A State Basketball Tournament on Thursday night, a broadcaster used a racial slur while making comments about Norman players taking a knee during the national anthem.

The man on the call for the National Federation of High Schools Network's online broadcast of the game has been identified as Matt Rowan, who operates the live-streaming platform that broadcasted the game.. Before using the slur on the call, he announced that the broadcast would be back after the national anthem performance. But his microphone was not off.

While believing the broadcast was on a break, the announcer said,"F-- them. I hope they lose," after seeing the Norman players not standing during the national anthem. "C'mon Midwest City. They're gonna kneel like that? Hell no ... F---ing n-----s."

Video of the comments was captured and shared online (Warning: the video of the broadcast contains explicit language.)

Norman Public Schools Superintendent Nick Migliorino released a statement on the matter on Friday, after video from the broadcast had been shared by many on social media:

"We condemn and will not tolerate the disgusting words and attitudes of these announcers. 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. We fully support our students' right to freedom of expression and our immediate focus is to support these girls and their coaches and families, particularly our Black students and coaching staff."

Rowan released a statement in which he blamed his comments on having Type 1 Diabetes. 

"I will state I suffer Type 1 Diabetes and during the game my sugar was spiking," Rowan said. "While not excusing my remarks, it is not unusual when my sugar spikes that I become disoriented and often say things that are not appropriate as well as hurtful."

Norman's mayor, Breea Clark, also had a statement on the matter, revealing how upset she was at the broadcaster's message.

"I am livid and absolutely disgusted about the racist and hateful comments directed towards the young women on the Norman High School basketball team by a game announcer in the live broadcast of last night's game," she tweeted. "These young athletes were simply expressing themselves as hundreds of professional athletes around the nation have done, and no one, let alone a child, deserves to experience this kind of racist and toxic behavior."

Clark asked for an apology for the girls who were subject to racism also said the contract with the National Federation of High School Network should be terminated. 

On Friday, Norman Public Schools announced that NFHS will no longer be broadcasting its games.