Matt Rowan Bio, Wiki
Matt Rowan, the owner, and operator of the streaming service OSPN, told The Oklahoman has come out saying he was the person who made a racially insensitive remark ‘N-Word’ which were directed to the Norman girls basketball team who took a knee ahead of its quarterfinal matchup with Midwest City on Thursday, March 11th at Sapulpa.
A Live Microphone caught him making the racist comments
A live microphone caught him making racist comments after members of the Norman girls basketball team kneeled for the national anthem. Rowan, while broadcasting on the NFHS Network, can be heard saying, “They’re kneeling? (Expletive) (racial slur). I hope Norman get their ass kicked. (Expletive) them. I hope they lose…
“They’re going to kneel like that? Hell no.” Rowan apologized Friday and blamed his use of racist language on his blood sugar levels.
“I will state that I suffer Type 1 Diabetes and during the game, my sugar was spiking,” Rowan said in a written statement. “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. I do not believe that I would have made such horrible statements absent my sugar spiking.”
Former youth pastor Matt Rowan called kneeling high school players “f*cking n*ggers” and blamed it on his sugar spike. pic.twitter.com/FBvoDIVzJL
— Resist Programming 🛰 (@RzstProgramming) March 12, 2021
Matt Rowan Video of the Moment has since gone viral
The Norman girls basketball team played Tulsa Union on Friday in the semifinals at Sapulpa. Spectators applauded as both teams kneeled during the national anthem. Video of Rowan’s comments went viral Friday morning. Norman Public Schools Superintendent Nick Migliorino released a statement condemning Rowan’s “disgusting words” as hate speech.
“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,” Migliorino said. “It is tragic that the hard work and skill of this team is being overshadowed by the vile, malignant words of these individuals. We will do everything in our power to support and uplift our team and everyone affected by this incident.”
The Norman school district will rely solely on its long-standing community partner SportsTalk Media to live stream the remainder of the tournament, Migliorino said.
Tahlequah Public Schools said Friday afternoon in a Facebook post that it has used the same broadcast crew in the past but will not moving forward.
NFHS Network and the OSSAA Statement
Rowan was hired by the governing body over all high school athletics in the state, the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, to broadcast the game on the NFHS Network. The OSSAA and NFHS both released apologetic statements Friday morning.
“On behalf of the NFHS Network and the OSSAA, we sincerely apologize that this happened at one of our events. While we are currently investigating the incident, this crew will not be doing any more games for the remainder of our championships. This kind of behavior will not be tolerated by anyone representing the NFHS or OSSAA. State tournament playoffs are a special time for our schools, their students and their communities, and anything that is counter-productive to education-based activities will be addressed immediately and appropriately.
“We will make further comments as we finish our investigation.”
The NFHS said it was “sickened” by Rowan’s comments.
“The thoughts expressed in no way represent the NFHS Network and we are outraged that they found their way into our production,” the network said in a statement. “We sincerely apologize to the students, their families and the entire community for having such ignorant comments expressed during the broadcast. We are aggressively investigating the incident and will ensure that any individuals responsible will have no relationship with the NFHS Network moving forward.”
Norman Mayor Breea Clark said a statement isn’t enough from the network or the OSSAA. To prevent a similar incident from happening again, she urged for measurable action from the OSSAA, such as implicit bias training or screening of the announcers hired for Oklahoma high school games.
Clark said she would host a town hall with Norman youth to hear their input. The mayor has been in contact with parents of the players targeted with racial slurs.
“I asked, ‘How is your daughter doing?'” Clark said. “She said her response was, ‘This is why we kneel,’ because there’s a problem. These brave young women aren’t afraid to address it and call it out when they see it. They’re real heroes in this situation.”
State Superintendent Joy Hofmeister called the comments “sickening and vile.”
“It is critical on all of us to be clear that racism has no place in society and must never be tolerated, especially in our public schools,” Hofmeister said. “My heart aches for the young female athletes who were subjected to this hateful and disgusting tirade.”
Oklahoma City NAACP President Garland Pruitt commended the students who kneeled during the national anthem — a gesture that has become a symbol of protest against police brutality and racial injustice.
Pruitt said the announcer’s comments reflect the “same attitude” of Oklahoma lawmakers who advanced a bill this week that would grant immunity to drivers who strike protesters. He further said it was another example of failure to protect people of color in Oklahoma, a state that once led the world in incarceration rates and regularly ranks near the bottom in education funding.
“When I first heard it, I said to myself, ‘Just another day in the neighborhood,’” Pruitt said. “In other words, these are the type of attitudes that too many of those that are in a position to correct, to fix, to change, to address issues have a tendency to take.”
I, Matt Rowan, on Thursday, March 11, 2021, most regrettably made some statements that cannot be taken back.
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.
I am a family man. I am married, have two children, and at one time was a youth pastor. I continue to be a member of a Baptist church. I have not only embarrassed and disappointed myself I have embarrassed and disappointed my family and my friends.
I will state that I suffer from 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. I do not believe that I would have made such horrible statements absent my sugar spiking.