A sports activities announcer at an Oklahoma highschool basketball sport uttered a racial slur right into a reside microphone as gamers on the court docket knelt throughout the nationwide anthem on Thursday evening, prompting widespread outrage and condemnation.
In a video clip that rapidly went viral, the announcer could possibly be heard cursing as he noticed the gamers of the Norman Excessive Faculty women’ basketball staff kneel simply earlier than the beginning of a quarterfinal state match sport in opposition to Midwest Metropolis.
“They’re kneeling?” he says, apparently not realizing that he and the remainder of the published staff may nonetheless be heard. Then he utters the racial slur, including, “I hope they lose.”
“They’re going to kneel like that?” he continues. “Hell, no.”
Frankie Parks, a trainer at Norman Excessive Faculty and the staff coach, posted a video clip on Twitter on Friday morning, condemning the announcer’s feedback, which infuriated local leaders round Norman, a metropolis of 123,000 folks about 20 miles south of Oklahoma Metropolis.
“Inform us how you actually really feel?” Mr. Parks wrote. “Because of this they kneel.”
The announcer, Matt Rowan, apologized in an announcement to The Frontier, a nonprofit information group that covers Oklahoma. The group described Mr. Rowan because the proprietor of a streaming service that broadcast the sport.
The web site for Mr. Rowan’s firm, OSPN, appeared to have been taken down as of Saturday morning. Mr. Rowan didn’t instantly reply to requests for touch upon Saturday.
In his assertion, Mr. Rowan, who described himself as a married father of two youngsters who goes to a Baptist church, mentioned he had Kind 1 diabetes.
“I’ve not solely embarrassed and dissatisfied myself, I’ve embarrassed and dissatisfied my household and my mates,” he mentioned. “Through the sport my sugar was spiking. Whereas not excusing my remarks, it’s not uncommon when my sugar spikes that I turn out to be disoriented and sometimes say issues that aren’t acceptable in addition to hurtful.”
Mr. Rowan mentioned that had it not been for his sugar spiking, “I don’t consider that I might have made such horrible statements.”
He added that he couldn’t clarify why he made the feedback.
“That is one thing for which I have to take duty,” Mr. Rowan mentioned. “I wholeheartedly settle for duty for my phrases and actions.”
The remarks on Thursday drew sharp rebukes and fury from the mayor of Norman and the Police Division, in addition to N.F.L. gamers like Kenny Stills and Gerald McCoy, who posted a picture on Twitter of the high school players kneeling in support.
“These younger ladies are powerful,” Sgt. Neelon Greenwood of the Norman Police Division mentioned in an announcement. “They’re fighters. The feedback made in opposition to them will add gas to their fireplace.”
The Nationwide Federation of State Excessive Faculty Associations’s accomplice community, which streams highschool sports activities video games, and the Oklahoma Secondary Faculty Actions Affiliation, which runs the match, mentioned they have been investigating.
In paired statements, each organizations mentioned the published staff wouldn’t be used throughout the remainder of the match.
The community mentioned it had “instantly lower ties with the third-party manufacturing crew that was concerned.”
“We apologize for and are sickened by the feedback,” the community mentioned. “The ideas expressed by no means characterize our community, and we’re outraged that they discovered their means into the manufacturing.”
The Norman Excessive Faculty women’ basketball staff, who’re undefeated, received the sport 53-40.