HS Announcer Matt Rowan Uses Racial Slur to Describe Kneeling Players on Hot Mic

Tim Daniels@TimDanielsBRFeatured ColumnistMarch 12, 2021

FILE - In this March 12, 2020, file photo, the  Charleston Civic Center arena sits empty after the West Virginia girls state basketball tournament in Charleston, W.Va., was suspended due to concerns over the coronavirus. The West Virginia Secondary School Activities Commission announced Tuesday, April 21, 2020, that it had canceled the boys and boys state basketball tournaments as well as the spring sports of tennis, track, softball and baseball.  (AP Photo/John Raby, File)
John Raby/Associated Press

Matt Rowan, an announcer from the National Federation of High Schools Network contracted by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association to broadcast a girls quarterfinal playoff game between Norman High School and Midwest City High School on Thursday used a racial slur caught on a live microphone. 

Cameron Jourdan of The Oklahoman reported Friday that Rowan reacted when members of the Norman squad took a knee for the U.S. national anthem.

"They're kneeling. F--kin [inaudible]. I hope Norman gets their ass kicked," Rowan said (warning: video contains profanity and racial slurs). "F--k them. I hope they lose. C'mon Midwest City. They're going to kneel like that? Hell no. ... F--kin n----rs."

Rowan provided a statement on his conduct, via Dylan Goforth of The Frontier:

Dylan Goforth @DGoforth918

The announcer who made the racist statements is partially blaming it on low blood sugar. https://t.co/6cTwIZdJZI

Norman Public Schools superintendent Dr. Nick Migliorino released a statement about Rowan's use of the slur:

"Last night during the Norman High School girls' basketball game versus Midwest City in the Oklahoma 6A State Basketball Tournament, National Federation of High School (NFHS) Network announcers on a live stream broadcast made racist and hateful comments targeted at our Norman High student athletes. The announcers were contracted by OSSAA for the state tournament.

"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. It is tragic that the hard work and skill of this team is being overshadowed by the vile, malignant words of these individuals. We will do everything in our power to support and uplift our team and everyone affected by this incident."

The NFHS Network also released a statement condemning Rowan's actions and committing to an investigation:

NFHS Network @NFHSNetwork

We have been made aware of the racist and hateful remarks made during a broadcast of the OSSAA Quarterfinals last night. We completely condemn these acts and are investigating the matter and the individuals involved. See our complete statement attached. https://t.co/c0r0YVhvIC

Top-seeded Norman posted a 53-40 victory over Midwest City to advance. The Tigers improved to 17-0 on the season with the win.

They will face Tulsa's Union High School in Friday's state 6A semifinal.