Announcer who referred to as highschool basketball workforce racial slur blames his diabetes


An Oklahoma sports announcer caught on video calling a high school girl basketball team blamed the N-word for the racist incident related to his type 1 diabetes.

Matt Rowan, a former youth pastor, identified himself as the announcer in a statement NBC News received on Saturday.

In the long response, Rowan said he believed his microphone was turned off when he labeled the Norman High School players a racial fraud.

“During the Norman High School girls’ basketball game against Midwest City, I made inappropriate and racist comments that believed the microphone was turned off. Let me immediately state, however, that this is not an excuse that such comments should never have been made.” he said in the statement.

“Not only have I embarrassed and disappointed myself, but I’ve also embarrassed and disappointed my family and friends.”

In an attempt to offer an explanation, Rowan said his diabetes will sometimes lead him to make “hurtful” comments.

“I will say that I have type 1 diabetes and that my sugar rose sharply during the game. While I do not apologize for my remarks, it is not uncommon for my sugar to rise that I get disoriented and say things a lot, that are inappropriate and non-hurtful. ” he said. “I don’t think I would have made such terrible statements without my sugar tip.”

The announcer said he was not racist and apologized for his comments.

JDRF, a non-profit advocacy group for type 1 diabetes research, responded in a tweet, “There are many symptoms of high blood sugar, not one of racism.”

Rowan released the statement through his attorney, who told NBC News that he had contacted her “because he wanted to admit and apologize for what he said”.

“I do not condone racist slurs made by anyone. However, as lawyers, it is our job to help people deal with the consequences of their behavior, regardless of the behavior,” said Janet Bickel Hutson.

In a video of Thursday’s game, an announcer was asked if Norman’s players were kneeling on the pitch during the national anthem.

“I hope Norman gets a kick,” Rowan said in the video. “F —— n ——.”

Rowan worked with another announcer during the game. He said in his statement that his colleague did not use racist slurs and he does not want him “to share in the guilt of this most unfortunate incident”.

Dr. Nick Migliorino, superintendent of Norman Public Schools, said he was outraged that “racist and hateful comments” were being made to the team.

The city’s mayor, Breea Clark, said she was “angry and utterly disgusted” by what was said.

“These young athletes simply expressed themselves as hundreds of professional athletes across the country have, and no one, let alone a child, deserves to experience this type of racist and toxic behavior,” she said on a series of Tweets.

“The announcer could have stopped saying he was hoping our team would lose, but instead went ahead and decided to use curse words and racial slurs against our children,” wrote Clark.

The broadcast team for the game was hired by the National Federation of High School (NFHS) network, which broadcasts high school sports. The network released a statement Friday saying it had “aggressively investigated” the incident and “severed ties with the third-party production crew involved.”

“We apologize for the comments made last night at the start of our broadcast of the OSSAA girls’ basketball game between Norman High School and Midwest City High School and we are sick,” the network said in a statement. “The thoughts that are not expressed in any way represent our network and we are outraged that they found their way into production.”