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Trigger warning: the contents of this article contain graphic details and audio of a racial slur. (The Black Wall Street Times was the first to report this story.)

Apparently, there’s no rest for the racists. A network announcer called members of Norman High’s girls’ basketball team “n*ggers” during a game against Midwest City Thursday night.

Going even beyond Don Imus’s infamous “nappy headed hoes comment,” the announcer, who is contracted with the National Federation of High School (NFHS) Network, grew furious when Black players and others on the diverse Norman High School girls’ basketball team chose to kneel during the National Anthem.

By Friday morning, an NHS coach had shared the clip of the racial slur on Twitter,  garnering nearly 10,000 views within an hour. The news comes just days after coaches disciplined two high school players on the boys’ basketball team at Oklahoma City’s John Marshall Enterprise School for throwing punches at a racist, slur-using Newcastle High School team.

Norman Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Nick Migliorino released a statement Friday morning condemning the racist comments.

“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,” the statement read.

Dr. Migliorino committed to fully supporting the Black students especially. He also called for NPS to rely only on its long-standing community partner, SportsTalk Media. 

Norman Mayor responds to racism

Norman Mayor Breea Clark was even more direct about the racial slur. She released a statement on Facebook. It called for an end to the partnership between the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association (OSSAA) and the National Federation of High School (NFHS) Network.

“I am livid and absolutely disgusted about the racist and hateful comments directed towards the young women on the Norman High School basketball team by a game announcer,” she said on Facebook.

“Join me in calling for the OSSAA to end their contract with the National Federation of High School (NFHS) Network. Their employees do not need to be anywhere near children. Further, these young women and their team deserve a public apology from NFS and OSSAA. There is no place for this behavior in our nation, and certainly not in youth sports.”

High School Basketball racial slur
Norman High School girls’ basketball team kneels during the National Anthem.
Norman High School girls’ basketball team kneels during the National Anthem.

However, many on social media refused to accept an apology.

Response from NFHS

Mayor Clark told theBWSTimes that as of Friday morning, NPS was meeting with high school coaches and the city was assessing its options. Those wanting to voice their concerns have begun to directly email NFHS:

Later in the day,  OSSAA released a statement from NFHS on its website. It included the typical corporate response: a distancing from the individual, a resume of its racial justice record, and an apology that promises to further investigate the situation.

In the clip, a man introduces himself as Matt Rowan. He then begins to name the members of his crew working the high school basketball game.

“Scott Sapulpa doing color and I am Matt Rowan signing off.”

Initially, TheBWSTimes had not been able to confirm whether either of these men hurled the racial slur. We haven’t been able to reach them for comment. But throughout the day, local and national media wrongly named Scott Sapulpa, a former coach at Hulbert High School. One reporter from the Oklahoman even had to retract his statement that it was Sapulpa, but not before national media spread the error.

Matt Rowan, owner of OSPN-live, blames racist comment on having low-blood sugar.

Dylan Goforth of the Frontier was the first to correctly release a statement from Matt Rowan,  owner of OSPN-live and the person who used the racial slur. In a press release, Rowan blamed low-blood sugar on his racist verbal attack.

“I will state that I suffer Type 1 Diabetes and during the game my sugar was spiking,” Rowan said in a statement. “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.”

The man was bold enough to even tell an Oklahoma City television reporter that the n-word is part of his vocabulary. He claimed that he’s “working to remove it.” But it appears his contractors removed him first. Rowan’s company was immediately fired from announcing the remaining tournament games by the the National Federation High School Network and the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association.

Schools cut ties, Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus responds.

Reacting to the racist news, several schools ended their contracts with NFHS on Friday. Norman Public schools, Moore Public Schools, and El Reno Public Schools all announced they would no longer contract with NFHS.

By Friday evening, the Oklahoma Legislature’s Black Caucus had released a blistering statement.

“How disappointing that a team of student-athletes who’ve exhibited such courage and determination be confronted by racist language and hateful rhetoric,” said Rep. Merleyn Bell D-Norman, the city’s first Black woman representative.

A legislator from Tulsa used the opportunity to call out racism across the state.

“We need contracts with more capable, black business owners, broadcasters and announcers. The Black student-athletes who are watched running up and down these courts should also see themselves more in station owners, producers, administrators, coaches, referees, and teachers,” said Black Caucus Chair Rep. Regina Goodwin D-Tulsa.

“These young women exercised their right to peacefully protest police killings and injustice in America. Their taking a knee is far better than taking a knee to end a life as officers did to Derek Scott and George Floyd. The use of the n-word shows America’s ugly, racist past is too often present.”

Just another day in Oklahoma.

It wasn’t all bad news, though. the Norman High School girls’ basketball team won the Class 6A girls state tournament championship after beating Bixby at the Mabee Center in Tulsa on Saturday.

Deon Osborne was born in Minneapolis, MN and raised in Lawton, OK before moving to Norman where he attended the University of Oklahoma. He graduated with a bachelor’s degree in Strategic Media and has...

39 replies on “Racial slur: Announcer calls kneeling High School basketball girls N-word”

  1. I’m out rage that we still have people who are very ignorant to today’s society. The newscaster that made those comments need to resign. Furthermore the OSSA and other schools needs to server it’s ok ties with the National Federation of Schools Network

    1. I thought the same thing. I can only speculate that it was not posted because there may be an actual legal investigation ongoing?

      1. They do mention his name. They corrected themselves when they had Initially called him Sapulpa they changed it to the right name which is Matt Rowan

    2. NFHS has not released the names of the announcers. Will update when we have more info.

  2. Wish I could say this was “unbelievable” but so very regretfully and sadly I can’t!

  3. Why is it that the First Amendment is okay for anyone of the Caucasian race to use or express and if it’s used or expressed from other races then it offensive. These young athletes have the right to exercise their First Amendment rights like any other Oklahoma citizens. I’m so tired of how these words can freely flow out the mouths of these racist individuals. They should be held accountable for the words and punished under the hate crime bill just as if they killed a person of color. Both announcers need to be fired and made pay compensation to this ladies. It’s 2021 and there are still individuals that walk around daily spewing filth out their dirty mouths. Kudos to these young ladies and I hope you’ll won the game.

  4. Their speech is protected from the overnment preventing them from saying whatever they like. They are not protected from the ACTIONS and reactions of others. For instance, the police will not stop you from calling your boss an a-hole. But there will be consequences. So, you are right.

  5. They don’t have respect for themselves, so how can the have respect for other. I’m sure there were children attending who not only heard the racist name calling but also the use of profanity. They should not only be fired, but prosecuted, fined, and never allowed to announce any athletic games or even be present at any. Even if they have children participating in sports, they shouldn’t be allowed anywhere near an athletic event

  6. Here’s my question and the larger issue…. Why type of environment exists in that network/company that made this man feel comfortable sharing that point of view with his colleague? No one called him out IN THE MOMENT. To me, that means everyone within earshot, producers included are complicit. The entire network is a cesspool of racism…. chew on that. We need to not only change people but cultures. Clearly, the culture of this company is complete trash. HOLD THEM ALL ACCOUNTABLE!

    1. This statement right here is right on the money! Not one colleague responded in the moment, which tells me that this is normal in their place of work. Watch them do a diversity workshop, suspend the commenter for a few weeks, and then it will be back to business as usual ???? for them.

      1. Exactly! The owner of this company needs to step up and I am not talking about “diversity training” or he should be outed for allowing such a racist environment exist in a company that covers sports and/or news. What is wrong with Oklahoma and other places /people like this??? Hopefully, the residents of Oklahoma that feels as this sports announcer does feel some level of shame and disgust!

  7. So because they knelt during the anthem, they’re f****** n******, but talking while the anthem plays is acceptable??

  8. Not to mention they’re all playing on a court with what is supposed to be some kind of profile of a Native American painted on the floor ~ ????

  9. and kneeling is a nigger thing but storming the Senate isnt pick your fight racist freaking announcers talkingbout some ” I hope they lose” just hateful…Boy is the light shining in the darkness now days ….Mask off fellas if you can say it stand by it, dont hide just be all out racist and see how far that gets you Matt!!!

    1. PRAY, that’s all black folks have been doing all our lives! Praying while they hung us from trees,
      raped our women, murdered our sons, deprived us of loans, deprived us of living in decent neighborhoods by red lining etc. No! fight for action. Get the whole group fired. It’s called community guilt! Not one spoke up in defense of the girls or condemned his racist ass. The whole school board and system is in need of a true overhaul! Yeah, a so-called Christian nation. They just represent what what our society is made up of. Not all white people are racist and we all know that. But there’s a much larger segment that is. They may try to hide it or cover it up but it seeps through like a sieve.

      1. I would rather pray for them and forgive them than to allow their ignorance, insecurity, hatred and toxicity enter into my soul. And another thing: White people who “aren’t racist” are not solving the problem of racism– White people who are anti-racist are. They’re the ones who call out their pig-mentally-challenged brethren when they show their racism.

  10. A view from a senior citizen white woman: my father had type I diabetes — poorly controlled because it was 1960s. His sugar spikes and lows caused irritability and sometimes disorientation, almost hallucinatory, but it did not cause him to let loose with racist speech. This announcer makes it sound like being drunk — you know your inhibitions are removed and you say shit that is buried inside. Obviously this man has a good deal of angry racism buried not-so-deep inside. He needs to man up and accept that it’s him and not his “blood sugar” issues, and maybe drop some of his side activities and go work on himself with pastoral and therapeutic counseling. Meantime, these lovely young women will have to carry this crap as a memory for the rest of their lives. There is no undoing that.

  11. So black people can call each other niggers but if a white person says it its racist?

    1. One, I’m SURE this isnt Kendrick Lamar. CANT be. Because Kendrick Lamar isn’t saying something this ignorant on a post BY the Black..Wall Street Times. He surely isn’t.

      Next, you’re correct. Black people can say it but white people cant. Period. If you’re really Kendrick Lamar and you don’t know that….yeah, why are you using this man’s name?!

      White people cant say it, black people shouldn’t, but can. Period. That milk is spilled, don’t miss breakfast. Pick your next battle.

      1. Actually, everyone can say it.

        When black people say it, they’re simply repeating a punch line from an age-old joke: “A black man boasts to his family about his college degree, fine job and wonderful house, only to have one of his relatives retort: ‘Yeah, but you’re still just a nigger to them.'”

        It’s funny, but it’s not funny at the same time, because of the naked truth behind that statement, and the irony of rappers naively purporting that they’re trying to reclaim the word and turn it into something positive, only to be enraged when another white person uses it.

        “Nigger” is a toxic word. It will always be a toxic word. Always. Let us keep that in mind before we speak the N-word.

    2. You are not Kendrick Lamar! You are just another white man who feels inadequate so you take a black man’s name to make you feel somewhat special. Then you come on to a site for predominantly black people to feel “loved” by making ridiculous racist comments. You can’t even act non-racist. There is nothing in the world that will make the hatred reeking throughout your soul to make you a better person.

  12. Fire that Bitch I dont give a fuck and talking about he was a pastor and so fourth and blame on liw sugar . Bye Bitch.

  13. You sorry SOB those are kids you dumb Fucc!! Low Blood Sugar?????? That’s all you can come up with you need to be paying their way through college and how dare ANYBODY thinks that the BS apology he gave was making it right?? GO TO HELL MATT AND FUCC YOUR LOW SUGAR!!!

  14. .
    Dan White got off killing a gay County Supervisor with the “Twinkie Defense”. Sugar has been used before, not original. This is in his soul. His employment must end. What does the company need to “investigate”? I mean, what are the variables? What a crock. FIRE HIM NOW! HIs ass needs to be in a soup kitchen line tomorrow.

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