A high school sports announcer says his spiking sugar levels are to blame for his racist attack against a girls high school basketball team
By Minyvonne Burke
An Oklahoma sports announcer who was caught on video calling a high school girls basketball team the N-word blamed the racist incident on his Type 1 diabetes.
Matt Rowan, a former youth pastor, identified himself as the announcer in a statement obtained Saturday by NBC News.
In the lengthy response, Rowan said that he believed his microphone was off when he called Norman High School players the racial slur.
“During the Norman High School girls basketball game against Midwest City, I made inappropriate and racist comments believing that the microphone was off; however, let me state immediately that is no excuse such comments should have never been uttered,” he said in the statement.
“I have not only embarrassed and disappointed myself I have embarrassed and disappointed my family and my friends.”
In an attempt to offer an explanation, Rowan said his diabetes will sometimes cause him to say “hurtful” comments.
We have been made aware of the racist and hateful remarks made during a broadcast of the OSSAA Quarterfinals last night. We completely condemn these acts and are investigating the matter and the individuals involved.— NFHS Network (@NFHSNetwork) March 12, 2021
See our complete statement attached. pic.twitter.com/c0r0YVhvIC
“I will state that I suffer Type 1 Diabetes and during the game my sugar was spiking.
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,” he said. “I do not believe that I would have made such horrible statements absent my sugar spiking.”
The announcer went on to say that he is not racist and apologized for his comments.
JDRF, a nonprofit advocacy group for Type 1 diabetes research, responded in a tweet, “There are a lot of symptoms of high blood sugar, racism is not one of them.”
There are a lot of symptoms of high blood sugar, racism is not one of them. https://t.co/q9l3Kd49Ne— JDRF (@JDRF) March 13, 2021
In a video of Thursday’s game, an announcer is heard asking if Norman’s players were kneeling on the court during the national anthem.
“They’re kneeling?” The announcer-in-question said in the deeply upsetting video. “F***ing n******. I hope Norman gets their ass kicked. F*** them. I hope they lose. They’re going to kneel like that? Hell no.”
The broadcast team for the game was hired by the National Federation of High School (NFHS) Network, which streams high school sports.
The network released a statement Friday and said it was “aggressively investigating” the incident and has “cut ties with the third-party production crew that was involved.”
“We apologize for and are sickened by 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,” the network said in a statement. “The thoughts expressed in no way represent our network, and we are outraged that they found their way into the production.”