Norman High wins Oklahoma state title after announcer's racist rant against them

Jack Baer
·2 min read

A story that began with an Oklahoma high school basketball announcer's appallingly racist rant at least managed to find a happy ending.

The Norman High School girls basketball team, whose kneeling during the national anthem led to announcer Matt Rowan hurling profanities and slurs at them on a live feed, won the Oklahoma Class 6A state title on Saturday, according to The Oklahoman.

The Tigers, the top-ranked team in the tournament, defeated No. 6 Bixby 48-37 to capture their second straight state title and finish a perfect 19-0 season. It could be considered their third straight year on top, as they were the top seed in the 2020 tournament that was canceled due to the COVID-19 pandemic:

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Norman's bigger challenge came in the semifinal, a 53-50 win over Union High School in Tulsa. The team won its quarterfinal matchup against Midwest City 53-40 on Thursday.

And yes, the team kept kneeling through the tournament, and even wore T-shirts affirming the reasons for their protest:

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Norman's win after Rowan triggered a firestorm adjacent to the team with what appeared to be a hot mic moment. As Norman knelt during the national anthem before their game against Midwest City, the online broadcast caught Rowan's unhinged rant against the team while seeming to think his mic was off:

“They’re kneeling? F***ing n*****s. I hope Norman gets their ass kicked ... F*** them. I hope they lose.

“Come on Midwest City. They’re going to kneel like that? Hell no.

"Did they even salute the flag? F***ing n*****s."

Rowan currently has much bigger problems on his plate, but Norman's win means did not get his wish.

Rowan's comments lead to a barrage of criticism, both from social media and figures like the Norman Public Schools superintendent, who said the district would stop using Rowan's NFHS Network for the tournament. The NFHS Network also issued an apology.

Rowan later released a statement apologizing for the comments and partially blamed his blood sugar spiking.

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