A play by play announcer during the Norman vs Midwest City Girl's Basketball Game on March 11th is facing backlash after several racist and hateful comments were caught due to a 'hot mic' and heard on a livestream.
The video quickly went viral and was even picked up by TMZ.
Now the announcer who made the racist statements is apologizing and partially blaming it on low blood sugar according to a Press Release that The Frontier and received.
"I, Matt Rowan, on Thursday, March 11, 2021, most regrettably made some statements that cannot be taken back.
During the Norman High School girls basketball game against Midwest City, I made in appropriate and racist comments believing that the microphone was off; however, let me state immediately that is no excuse such comments should have never been uttered.
I am a family man. I am married, have two children and at one time was a youth pastor. I continue to be a member of a Baptist church. I have not only embarrassed and disappointed myself I have embarrassed and disappointed my family and my friends.
I will state that I suffer Type 1 Diabetes and during the game my sugar was spiking. 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. I do not believe that I would have made such horrible statements absent my sugar spiking.
During this time I was with a colleague and friend Scott Sapulpa. Scott Sapulpa was not the one that made these comments, it was me and me alone. It is not my desire to shirk my responsibility in this matter and I certainly do not want Scott Sapulpa to share in the blame of this most unfortunate incident.
While the comments I made would certainly seem to indicate that I am racist, I am not, Ihave never considered myself to be racist, and in short cannot explain why I made these comments.
I offer my most sincere apologies for the inappropriate comments made and hope that I can obtain forgiveness. I specifically apologize to the Norman High School girls basketball team, their families, their coaches and their entire school system. Additionally, I offer my apologies to OSSAA, and NFHS network. further apologize to all involved in this situation and simply to the entire sports community.
There are no other words to explain what occurred. This is something for which I must take responsibility; and I wholeheartedly accept responsibility for my words and actions."
Norman Public Schools released the following statement:
"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.
Moving forward NPS will rely only on our long-standing, community partner SportsTalk Media to live stream the remainder of the tournament, as we have full confidence in their proven ability to respectfully support our student athletes."
The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association also released a statement:
“The OSSAA was made aware that some very offensive, inappropriate comments were made during the NFHS livestream broadcast of the quarter final state tournament basketball game between the Norman High School and Midwest City girls teams at Sapulpa High School Thursday night.
On behalf of the NFHS Network and the OSSAA, we sincerely apologize that this happened at one of our events. 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. State tournament playoffs are a special time for our schools, their students, and their communities, and anything that is counter-productive to education-based activities will be addressed immediately and appropriately.
We will make further comments as we finish our investigation.”
The National Federation Of Of High School (NFHS) Network released the following statement:
"We were sickened by the comments made last night at the start of the NFHS Network’s broadcast of the OSSAA girls basketball game between Norman High School and Midwest City High School. The thoughts expressed in no way represent the NFHS Network and we are outraged that they found their way into our production.
The NFHS Network firmly condemns racism, hate and discrimination, and there is no room for this in high school sports or anywhere.
We sincerely apologize to the students, their families and the entire community for having such ignorant comments expressed during the broadcast. We are aggressively investigating the incident and will ensure that any individuals responsible will have no relationship with the NFHS Network moving forward."