Two days after in-game announcer Matt Rowan called the Norman High School basketball team “f***ing n****rs” for protesting during the national anthem, the Lady Tigers capped off their perfect 20-0 season with a 6A state championship. They even received a surprise honor from the WNBA.
Thursday night the Norman High girls basketball team faced Midwest City in the State Championship Quarterfinals. During the National anthem, the Lady Tigers took a knee in protest interlocking arms. When he realized what was happening, in-game announcer Matt Rowan began his inappropriate and racist rants about the young girls, not realizing their mics were still on. “They’re kneeling? I hope they get their a** kicked. F**k them. Come on Midwest City. F***ing n****rs.” The other announcer, Scott Sapulpa, allowed the racist rant to continue without saying a word.
By Friday morning, an NHS coach had shared the clip of the racial slur on Twitter, garnering nearly 10,000 views within an hour.
Racist commentator tried to throw shade on Norman High Lady Tigers
Through his lawyers Friday evening, Matt Rowan issued one of the most ridiculous apologies in the history of racist behavior. “I will state that I suffer Type 1 Diabetes and during the game my sugar was spiking,” Rowan said in the 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.” Not once in the remainder of the broadcast was there any indication of his sugar spiking.
Saturday afternoon at the Mabee Center in Tulsa the Lady Tigers competed in a showdown against the Bixby Spartans for the state championship. The Lady Tigers wore shirts that read “This is why we kneel” in their pregame warmups.
Afterward, Mayor Breea Clark showered the Norman High School girls basketball team with praise in a statement to theBWSTimes. “The bravery, character, and sportsmanship these young women have shown is impressive for anyone, let alone students in high school. They did not let adversity stop them from achieving greatness, and as they continue to go on and do great things, I hope they never forget that their community has their backs!”
WNBA throws shine on Norman High Lady Tigers
After winning the state championship and receiving national attention for the reaction to their protest, the Lady Tigers, along with Tulsa Union’s High School girls’ who also took knees, got a surprise message that is sure to make them proud. Players from the WNBA joined in a message congratulating the Lady Tigers not only on their perfect season and state championship, but also for “not [being] defined by anyone’s ignorance or hate. You will rise above, with us by your side. Together, we will use this moment (and many others) as a teaching moment for those who are honest and interested in real engagement and action.”
We agree with the WNBA players, the members of the Norman Lady Tigers are definitely the “future stars of [the] sport and rising leaders of this country.”