Norman High School girls basketball team wins state title days after racist comments made by announcer


After being the center of attention for the actions of an announcer, the Norman High School girls basketball team made headlines on its own terms by winning the Oklahoma 6A state championship.

The Tigers (19-0) capped their perfect season with a 48-37 win over Bixby on Saturday.

Norman gained national attention after racist words from an announcer were heard before the team’s quarterfinal game on Thursday.

The incident occurred when “The Star-Spangled Banner” began to play. Announcers told their listeners on the NFHS Network broadcast that they would return after a break and then one, unaware that the audio was still live, used an expletive and epithet as the Norman players knelt.

“Are they on their knees? Fuck them,” said Matt Rowan. “I hope Norman gets his ass kicked … Damn N words.”

On Friday, Rowan apologized.

“During Norman High School’s girls basketball game against Midwest City, I made inappropriate and racist comments in the belief that the microphone was off; however, let me immediately tell you that there is no excuse that such comments should never have been made,” she said. Rowan in a statement. .

He added that a medical condition may have contributed to the outbreak.

“I will say that I suffer from type 1 diabetes, and during the game, my blood sugar went up,” explained Rowan. “Without excusing my comments, it is not unusual for my blood sugar to rise that it disorients me and I often say things that are inappropriate as well as hurtful. I don’t think I would have made such horrible statements without my blood sugar.”

The Oklahoma High School Activities Association and the NFHS Network also released statements apologizing for the comments.

Kneeling during the anthem during American sporting events has become a familiar way for athletes to express themselves, often protesting racial or social injustice. Norman High School Superintendent Nick Migliorino said the school district supports the right of students to express themselves freely.

“We condemn and will not tolerate the disgusting words and attitudes of these announcers,” Migliorno said on Friday. “We will do everything in our power to support and uplift our team and all those affected by this incident.”

Norman knelt again during the anthem before Saturday’s state title game, wearing T-shirts that read “THIS IS WHY WE KNEELED.”

The Tigers have now won two consecutive state titles. Norman won in 2019 and no championships were held in 2020 due to the COVID-19 pandemic.

Information from The Associated Press was used in this report.

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