Days after an announcer made racist, disparaging remarks about the Norman High School girls basketball players, the team made headlines of its own by taking home the Oklahoma 6A state championship on Saturday.
Norman defeated Bixby, 48-37, to complete an undefeated season and win the school's second consecutive state title. The Tigers won it all in 2019 but were denied the chance to defend their crown after the 2020 tournament was canceled because of the COVID-19 pandemic.
Two days prior, Norman was thrust into the spotlight when an announcer used a racial epithet to deride Norman players for kneeling during the national anthem. His comments were picked up by microphones during a live stream.
“They’re kneeling? (Expletive) them,” the announcer said. “I hope Norman gets their ass kicked ... (Expletive) (epithet).”
Norman mayor Breea Clark commended the team on social media following the win, calling the players' accomplishments inspiring.
"Watching this city come together to support and celebrate those young women is easily one of the top 5 moments as mayor," Clark posted on Facebook. "The character, bravery, and resiliency of these athletes is inspiring! Congrats, ladies!"
After the video went viral, the announcer who made the comments—Matt Rowan—blamed his comments on a sugar spike in a statement offering his apology.
“I am a family man. I am married, have two children and at one time was a youth pastor. I continue to be a member of a Baptist church. I have not only embarrassed and disappointed myself, [but] I have embarrassed and disappointed my family and my friends. I will state that I suffer Type 1 Diabetes, and during the game, my sugar was spiking. 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.”
Before the state title game on Saturday, Norman players again took a knee during the national anthem, donning shirts that read, "THIS IS WHY WE KNEEL."