Who is Matt Rowan? Oklahoma broadcaster hurls N-word at girls' basketball team for kneeling, blames blood sugar

Who is Matt Rowan? Oklahoma broadcaster hurls N-word at girls' basketball team for kneeling, blames blood sugar
The Norman Girls basketball team taking the knee during the game (NFHS Network)

A high-school basketball announcer in Oklahoma has landed himself in deep trouble after hurling racial slurs at a team when players took the knee during the national anthem. According to the videos, the basketball team of Norman girl basketball team chose to kneel for the duration of the anthem ahead of their quarterfinals matchup.

The broadcasting team told their listeners on the NFHS Network stream they would return after a break. However, they did not realize the audio was still on. 


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As soon as the entire side kneels down, the announcer can be heard directing expletives at the team for taking the knee. The announcer, Matt Rowan, was calling the game on the official live stream of the National Federation of State High School Association network.

In the video, Rowan said, “They are kneeling?” F**king (N-word). I hope Norman gets their a** kicked. F**k them. I hope they lose. They are going to kneel like that? Hell no.” The clip went viral on social media and Rowan faced a lot of backlash for his racist comments.


Who is Matt Rowan?

Matt Rowan is one of the prominent names in the world of basketball and has been working as an announcer for years now. Rowan has been live-streaming the local games through his OSPN Live network and was hired by the Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association to cover the game.

The announcer released a statement as soon as the clip spread like a wildfire on social media. In his statement, he tried to blame his comments in part on spiking blood sugar and his Type 1 Diabetes. He said, “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 the sugar spikes that I become disoriented and often say things that are not appropriate as well as hurtful. I do not believe that I would have made such horrible statements absent my sugar spiking.”

Anthony Davis #3, LeBron James #23 and Quinn Cook #28 of the Los Angeles Lakers take a kneel before the game (Getty Images)

The statement released by the announcer made the matters worse for him as a lot of people believed that such kind of racism is the reason why they take the knee in almost all the games.

Sharing his photos, a Twitter handle named Resist Programming tweeted, “This is Matt Rowan who blamed calling teenagers the N-word on his diabetes. Initially, Matt lied and told multiple media outlets that it was his close friend who used the slur.” 



‘No place for hate speech’

The National Federation of State High School Associations (NFHS) condemned the racial slurs made by the announcer and revealed that the company has launched an investigation into the matter. “We are aggressively investigating the incident and will ensure that any individuals responsible will have no relationship with the NFHS Network moving forward,” according to the statement.


On the other hand, the superintendent of the Norman Public Schools, Dr. Nick Migliorino, said the district won’t be using the NFHS network for the rest of the games. Migliorino said, “This type of hate speech has no place in our society and we are outraged that it would be directed at any human being, and particularly at our students. We fully support our students’ right to freedom of expression and our immediate focus is to support these girls and their coaches and families, particularly our Black students and coaching staff.”

Norman Legislative Democrats also released a joint statement in response: “The comments made by the announcer were vile and racist. No Oklahoman, let alone a student, deserves to hear that type of insulting language. We stand in solidarity with the Norman High players who were the targets of the slur and applaud their social consciousness and determination. Fight on, and know that you have our support.”

Norman mayor Breea Clark also issued a statement and said that she is “disgusted” by the comments made by the announcer and “no one, let alone a child, deserves to experience this kind of racist and toxic behavior.”


Meanwhile, the players from the Norman girls basketball team also expressed their disappointment on the remarks made by Rowan and noted that this is why they take the knee. 

‘Diabetes doesn't cause racism’

Social media was in no mood to let go of Rowan so easily and wanted him to face the consequences. Many users slammed the announcer for using such racial slurs and blaming it on his “Type 1 Diabetes.” One user said, “Matt Rowan is the son of my childhood pastor. He grew up to be a youth pastor before settling in sports broadcasting. This man has displayed racist behavior for as long as I can remember and I do not feel an inkling of guilt or sympathy for his exposure.”


Another user noted, “As a type 1 diabetic, I try to live my life in a way that people would never know I had the disease unless I told them. I am embarrassed and offended that someone would use T1D as a pathetic excuse for saying something like this. Matt Rowan, be better.” Another user shared, “This is one of the most insane press releases I've ever seen in my life, I could write a book about it.

Matt Rowan dedicated three full paragraphs to how good a guy he is. He dedicated a full paragraph to defend his colleague. He dedicated one sentence to the girls he called the n-word, the same amount as to the entire sports community.” “Dear Matt Rowan, diabetes does not cause racism,” said another one.





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