A sports announcer at an Oklahoma High School basketball game thrust a racist arc into a live microphone as players kneeled on the court during Thursday night’s national anthem, sparking widespread outrage and condemnation.
In a video clip that quickly went viralThe announcer was cursed as he saw the players on the Norman High School girls’ basketball team kneel just before a quarterfinal tournament game against Midwest City began.
“Are you kneeling?” he says and doesn’t seem to notice that he and the rest of the broadcast team can still be heard. Then he pronounces the racist bow and adds: “I hope you lose.”
“Are you going to kneel like this?” he continues. “Under no circumstance.”
Frankie Parks, a Norman High School teacher and team coach, posted a video clip on Twitter Friday morning condemning the announcer’s comments. which made the local leaders angry to Norman, a town of 123,000 people about 20 miles south of Oklahoma City.
“Are you telling us how you really feel?” Mr. Parks wrote. “That’s why they kneel.”
The announcer, Matt Rowan, apologized in a statement to The Frontier, a nonprofit news organization reporting on Oklahoma. The organization described Mr. Rowan as the owner of a streaming service that broadcast the game.
The website for Mr. Rowan’s company OSPN appeared to have closed on Saturday morning. Mr Rowan did not immediately respond to requests for comment on Saturday.
In his statement, Mr Rowan, who described himself as a married father of two who attends a Baptist church, said he had type 1 diabetes.
“Not only have I embarrassed and disappointed myself, but I’ve also embarrassed and disappointed my family and friends,” he said. “During the game, my sugar became more acute. While I do not apologize for my remarks, it is not uncommon for me to become disoriented by the sugar spikes and often say things that are inappropriate and non-hurtful. “
Mr. Rowan said, without his sugar tip, “I don’t think I would have made such terrible statements.”
He added that he couldn’t explain why he made the comments.
“This is something I have to take responsibility for,” said Mr. Rowan. “I wholeheartedly take responsibility for my words and actions.”
The statements on Thursday drew sharp reprimands and anger the Mayor of Norman and like the police department as well as NFL players Kenny Stills and Gerald McCoy, who posted a picture on Twitter of the high school players kneeling in support.
“These young women are tough,” said Sgt. Neelon Greenwood of the Norman Police Department said in a statement. “They are fighters. The comments made against them will add fuel to their fire. “
The National Federation of State High School Associations partner network, which broadcasts high school sports games, and the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, which runs the tournament, said they are investigating.
in the paired statementsBoth organizations said the broadcast team would not be deployed for the remainder of the tournament.
The network said it “immediately disconnected from the involved third-party production team.”
“We apologize for the comments and are sick,” said the network. “The thoughts that are not expressed in any way represent our network and we are outraged that they found their way into production.”
The undefeated Norman High School girls’ basketball team won the game 53-40.