Basketball Announcer Blames Diabetes for Racist Rant Against Kneeling Students

A basketball announcer who used the n-word to describe a high school team has apologized and pointed to the fact he suffers from diabetes as a contributing factor in his racist remarks.

Matt Rowan said his blood sugar was spiking at the time he made the remarks and he thought the microphone was off. He was acting as announcer for a Thursday quarter-final game between Norman High School and Midwest City in Sapulpa, Oklahoma and his comments were broadcast live on the NFHS (National Federation of State High School Associations) Network stream.

The Norman students knelt as the national anthem began to play—a form of protesting racial injustice that has become popular across the U.S. but taking a knee remains a controversial topic.

"They're kneeling? F*ck them," Rowan said. "I hope Norman gets their ass kicked."

"I hope they lose. C'mon Midwest City. They're gonna kneel like that? Hell no. ... F*cking [n-words]," the 44-year-old went on.

A video featuring Rowan's comments was posted on Twitter and quickly garnered a large amount of attention.

In a statement on Friday, Rowan admitted that he was the person who can be heard using the racial epithet and apologized. He's the owner of OSPN, a third-party company that was responsible for producing the telecast of Thursday's game for the NFHS Network.

"I will state that I suffer Type 1 Diabetes and during the game, my sugar was spiking," Rowan's statement said. "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," Rowan said.


— Bryan Armen Graham (@BryanAGraham) March 12, 2021

His statement said that he was a "family man" and that he made the "inappropriate and racist comments believing the microphone was off."

"I'm absolutely speechless for my rhetoric. I want to offer my deepest apologies to these girls because I hurt them," Rowan told TMZ Sports on Friday

Rowan said the n-Word should not be used and he did not "want to hide behind diabetes."

"I want to take ownership of my actions. Never my intention to hurt anyone. I am sickened by what I said. I am so sorry for what I said," he said.

The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) and the NFHS Network have both said they're investigating the incident and apologized for Rowan's comments.

"We are aggressively investigating the incident and will ensure that any individuals responsible will have no relationship with the NFHS Network moving forward," the NFHS Network said in a statement.

Closeup of a Microphone
A closeup of a microphone. An Oklahoma basketball announcer has apologized for using a racial epithet to describe a high school team. Shutter2U/Getty Images