Norman Girls HSBB Team Wins OK State Title Days After Announcer's Racist Remarks

Jenna CiccotelliAnalyst IIMarch 14, 2021

A close up view of tattoos on Argentina's Gabriel Deck's arm puts a shot over Grigory Motovilov of Russia during their Group B match in the FIBA Basketball World Cup, at the Wuhan Sport Center in Wuhan in central China's Hubei province, Wednesday, Sept. 4, 2019. (AP Photo/Andy Wong)
Andy Wong/Associated Press

Days after their quarterfinal victory was overshadowed by racist comments made on-air by a broadcaster, the Norman High School girls basketball team completed its perfect season and won the Oklahoma 6A state title. 

The 19-0 Tigers defeated Bixby 48-37 on Saturday.

On Thursday, Matt Rowan, who was broadcasting the game on the NFHS Network livestream, criticized the team for kneeling during the national anthem during the pregame ceremony.

"They're kneeling? F--k them," Rowan said (h/t ESPN). "I hope Norman gets their ass kicked. ... F--king N-words."

The team knelt for the anthem again before their victory, wearing t-shirts that said "THIS IS WHY WE KNEEL." 

Morgan Beard @morganbeard

Here for some state championship girls basketball between Norman High and Bixby. Noteworthy: the @gonormantigers girls wore “This is why we kneel” shirts pregame. https://t.co/y78dw0TgI7

Rowan apologized a day later, saying that he thought the microphone was off and noting that his Type 1 Diabetes may have played a role in his outburst. 

"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," he said. "I do not believe that I would have made such horrible statements absent my sugar spiking."

The NFHS Network and the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association also made statements apologizing for the comments, while Norman superintendent Nick Migliorino said he supported the students' decision to kneel for the anthem. 

"We condemn and will not tolerate the disgusting words and attitudes of these announcers," Migliorino said Friday, per ESPN. "We will do everything in our power to support and uplift our team and everyone affected by this incident."

The win was the program's second straight state title, having won in 2019. The 2020 game was canceled amid the COVID-19 pandemic.