Black Caucus Reacts to Racism at State Tournament
Mike Seals - March 14, 2021 10:01 pm
OKLAHOMA CITY –The Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus issued statements today in response to the racist and obscene language heard coming from commentators’ live-streamed broadcast. The slur, which included the “n-word,” was directed at Norman High School Girls’ Basketball players, as they were kneeling during the National Anthem.
“How disappointing that a team of student-athletes who have exhibited such courage and determination be confronted by racist language and hateful rhetoric,” said Rep. Merleyn Bell, D-Norman. “These students deserve better, and my colleagues and I stand ready to ensure they receive just that.”
Oklahoma Legislative Black Caucus Chair Rep. Regina Goodwin, D-Tulsa, had this to add:
“In a day of rumored names and delayed accountability, Matt Rowan admitted to making despicable remarks,” Goodwin said. “Rowan is an announcer, OSPN live stream business owner, and a one-time youth pastor of a Baptist church. He spewed vulgar and obscene language inclusive of the ‘F-ing N-Word’ directed at Norman High School Girls Basketball players before the start of a state tournament game.
“He was not aware that his comments were being broadcast as the Norman team was kneeling during the National Anthem.
“This week, before this incident, I read the racist third verse of the Star-Spangled Banner on the House floor. The stanza proudly hails how the slave can not be saved from the terror of flight or the gloom of the grave.
“Mr. Rowan should fully own his racist words without excuse. The vile slurs seemingly stopped once he knew he was being broadcast, not because he was healed of a blood sugar spike. A better reflection of God, racial sensitivity and fair engagement in America is key to a greater America.
“We need contracts with more capable, black business owners, broadcasters and announcers. The black student-athletes who are watched running up and down these courts should also see themselves more in station owners, producers, administrators coaches, referees and teachers. These young women exercised their right to peacefully protest police killings and injustice in America.
“Their taking knee is far better than taking a knee to end a life as officers did to Derrick Scott and George Floyd. The use of the n-word shows America’s ugly racist past is too often present.
“Norman High School players, black and white together, who are bravely protesting for more justice in America is beautiful.”