An Oklahoma basketball announcer who was caught on a hot mic calling members of an all-girl high school team the N-word for kneeling during the national anthem is now blaming the outburst on his diabetes.
“I will state that I suffer Type 1 diabetes and during the game, my sugar was spiking,” the announcer, Matt Rowan, told TMZ Sports.
Rowan claimed, “it is not unusual when my sugar spikes that I become disoriented and often say things that are not appropriate as well as hurtful.”
The 44-year-old was caught using the profanity-laced slur during Thursday night’s playoff game between Norman High School and Midwest City High School.
“They’re kneeling? F—–g N—–s, I hope Norman gets their ass kicked. F–k them. I hope they lose. They’re gonna kneel like that?” he said as the entire Norman team took a knee.
Rowan apologized for his remarks, telling TMZ Sports, “I’m absolutely speechless for my rhetoric. I want to offer my deepest apologies to these girls because I hurt them.”
“I want to take ownership of my actions,” he added. “Never my intention to hurt anyone. I am sickened by what I said. I am so sorry for what I said.”
The announcer received intense backlash from professional athletes, including Norman’s head coach.
“Tell us how you really feel!! THIS IS WHY THEY KNEEL!!!,” Coach Frankie Parks tweeted, referring to athletes who kneel during the national anthem to protest racial injustice.
The National Federation of State High School Network, which produced the livestream, said it is cutting ties with the broadcast crew.
“The NFHS Network firmly condemns racism, hate and discrimination, and there is no room for this in high school sports or anywhere,” the organization said in a statement Friday.
Former San Francisco quarterback Colin Kaepernick famously took a knee during the anthem in 2016 to condemn police brutality and social injustice, an act that prompted other athletes to do so over the years.
Additional reporting by Jesse O’Neill