Norman HSBB Player: Matt Rowan 'Should Be Held Accountable' for Racist Remarks

Joseph Zucker@@JosephZuckerFeatured ColumnistMarch 15, 2021

Basketballs sit in a rack in the first half of an NCAA college basketball game Thursday, Jan. 23, 2020, in Boulder, Colo. (AP Photo/David Zalubowski)
David Zalubowski/Associated Press

Members of the Norman High School girls basketball team held a press conference Monday to address commentator Matt Rowan's use of a racial slur to describe its players. 

One player said the broadcaster "should be held accountable so something like this doesn't happen in the future" (via TMZ).

Norman High players chose to kneel for the national anthem prior to an Oklahoma 6A tournament quarterfinal game as part of a widespread movement to protest racial and social injustice.

While speaking on a hot mic during a break in the broadcast, Rowan criticized the players for kneeling and called them "f--kin n----rs."

Rowan subsequently released a statement, saying he suffers from Type 1 diabetes and claiming he "become[s] disoriented and often say[s] things that are not appropriate as well as hurtful" when his blood sugar spikes:

Dylan Goforth @DGoforth918

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

NFHS Network, which was broadcasting the game, said it would be launching an investigation:

Norman Public Schools superintendent Dr. Nick Migliorino also addressed the matter on Friday:

"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."

Norman went on to lift the state title for the sixth time, taking down Bixby High School 48-37 in the championship game on Saturday.