Announcer who hurled racist insults at a high school basketball team has issued an apology

Announcer Matt Rowan called members of an Oklahoma high school girls' basketball team the n-word after they knelt for the national anthem.

Posted: Mar 15, 2021 8:11 AM
Updated: Mar 15, 2021 8:11 AM

The Oklahoma high school basketball announcer who hurled racist insults during a livestream of a state basketball game has apologized for his actions.

In a statement obtained by CNN, Matt Rowan said he "most regrettably made some statements that cannot be taken back."

He said that he is a Type 1 diabetic and during the game his blood sugar was spiking. He offered a "sincere apology" to all involved in the game and said it's "not unusual" for him to become disoriented and say inappropriate and hurtful things.

"While the comments I made would certainly seem to indicate that I am a racist, I am not," he said. "I have never considered myself to be racist, and in short cannot explain why I made those comments."

On Thursday, the Norman High School girls' basketball team was about to play Midwest City in the Oklahoma 6A state basketball tournament -- a game that was being livestreamed by the National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) Network.

A video of the livestream shows that when the Norman players kneeled during the National Anthem, Rowan began to hurl insults at them.

"They're kneeling? F**king n***ers," Rowan is heard saying. "I hope Norman gets their ass kicked."

After a short pause, with the National Anthem still playing, the insults continue.

"F**k them," Rowan says. "I hope they lose."

"C'mon Midwest City -- they're gonna kneel like that? Hell no," Rowan says.

Rowan uses the same slurs one more time before the audio on the recording cuts out.

The Tahlequah Public Schools athletic department said in a statement that it contracted the crew to broadcast the basketball tournament, but the crew is not a part of the Tahlequah High School or the athletic department. The school system has terminated its contract with the company, Matt Cloud, athletic director for TPS, said in the statement.

CNN has reached out to Rowan's attorney for additional comment but has not heard back.

In a statement released Friday, NFHS said that it was "sickened by the comments made last night."

"The thoughts expressed in no way represent the NFHS Network and we are outraged that they found their way into our production," the organization said in its statement. "We are aggressively investigating the incident and have immediately cut ties with the third-party production crew that was involved."

In a series of tweets on Friday, Norman Mayor Breea Clark said she is "livid and absolutely disgusted about the racist and hateful comments directed towards the young women on the Norman High School basketball team."

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