High School Announcer Caught Calling Girls’ Basketball Team Racial Slur, Blames Medical Condition
An announcer for the live stream of an Oklahoma girl's high school basketball was caught on a hot mic calling one team by a racial slur.
The incident took place before the game between Norman High School and Midwest City just as the national anthem began to play. The announcer, identified by The Frontier as Matt Rowan, cursed Norman players who kneeled during the Star-Spangled Banner—at one point using a racial epithet unaware that the audio was still live.
They’re kneeling? F**k them,. I hope Norman gets their a** kicked … I hope they lose. C’mon Midwest City. They’re gonna kneel like that? Hell no.
On Friday, a clip of Rowan using the N-word to describe the players was posted to Twitter and quickly went viral.
According to The Frontier, Rowan initially denied being the person who uttered the slur.
Matt Rowan, owner of OSPN, the live-streaming platform that broadcasted Thursday’s game, told The Frontier in a phone interview Friday afternoon he was not the person heard making racist comments.
But hours later, Rowan admitted it was him.
Rowan would later release a statement saying that low blood sugar is what led to the racial outburst.
The NFHS Network and the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association each issued statements apologizing for Rowan's comments.
While we are currently investigating the incident, this crew will not be doing any more games for the remainder of our championships. This kind of behavior will never be tolerated by anyone representing the NFHS or OSSAA.
Rowan is the owner of OSPN, the third-party company that produced the telecast for the NFHS Network stream.
NFHS said they were "sickened and outraged" by the comments they heard in the hot mic incident and have severed ties with Rowan and OPSN.
We are aggressively investigating the incident and will ensure that any individuals responsible will have no relationship with the NFHS Network moving forward.
Norman High School superintendent Nock Migliorino released a statement denouncing comments made by Rowan and reiterating that the school district "supports the students' rights to freely express themselves."
The backlash on social media was instant, with many saying that Rowan blaming the outburst on diabetes was almost as vile and problematic as the racial epithet he hurled in the now-viral video.
Rowan also saw backlash from people who do suffer from the medical condition he used as an excuse for his racist remarks.
There has been an outpouring of support for the team from the school system as well as the community, both local and beyond.
According to numerous medical professionals, there has been no scientific proof or documentation that suggests Rowan's racism could be a side effect of his medical condition.
We will update this story if that changes.