An announcer working the live stream of a girls' high school basketball state tournament game in Oklahoma says his blood sugar spiked as he called the players on one team "f--king n---ers" for taking a knee during the national anthem.
In a statement obtained by CNN, Matt Rowan, said he "most regrettably made some statements that cannot be taken back." He said that he is a Type 1 diabetic and during the broadcast, carried by the National Federation of State High Schools streaming platform, his blood sugar was spiking. He offered a "sincere apology" to all involved in the game and said it's "not unusual" for him to become disoriented and say inappropriate and hurtful things.
"While the comments I made would certainly seem to indicate that I am a racist, I am not," Rowan said. "I have never considered myself to be racist, and in short cannot explain why I made those comments."
On Thursday, the Norman High School girls' basketball team was about to play Midwest City in the Oklahoma 6A state basketball tournament.
As reported by CNN, video shows Norman players kneeling during the anthem, prompting Rowan to say into a hot mic, "They're kneeling? F**king n***ers. I hope Norman gets their ass kicked." Later, as the anthem played on, Rowan added, "F**k them. I hope they lose."
"C'mon Midwest City — they're gonna kneel like that? Hell no," Rowan continued. Additional slurs are followed by the audio being cut.
The Tahlequah Public Schools athletic department said in a statement that it contracted the crew to broadcast the basketball tournament, but the crew is not a part of the Tahlequah High School or the athletic department. The school system has terminated its contract with the company, TPS athletic director Matt Cloud, said in the statement.
In a statement Friday, NFHS said that it was "sickened by the comments made last night."
"The thoughts expressed in no way represent the NFHS Network and we are outraged that they found their way into our production," the organization said in its statement. "We are aggressively investigating the incident and have immediately cut ties with the third-party production crew that was involved."