An announcer who was broadcasting a Norman High School girls basketball game landed in hot water this week.
During a recent showdown between Norman High School and Midwest City in the quarterfinals of the Oklahoma 6A state basketball tournament, a group of players opted to kneel for the national anthem.
That didn’t sit well with the announcer.
@NFHSNetwork I NEED THE NAMES OF THESE TWO BIGGOTS ASAP!! YOU’RE NOT GONNA PLAY ANY KIDS ON MY WATCH! ESPECIALLY KIDS I’M CLOSE TO! I’LL BE IN SAPULPA SUNDAY TO SEE IF YOU WANNA CALL ME A “NI$$ER” TO MY FACE. pic.twitter.com/pxttGnRkma
— Irv Roland (@irv_roland) March 12, 2021
“They’re kneeling?” the audio states, per TMZ. “F****** n******. I hope Norman gets their ass kicked. F*** them. I hope they lose. They’re going to kneel like that?”
In a follow-up, TMZ reported that the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association, the group that hired the announcing team, has pulled them for the rest of the tournament.
Moreover, Cameron Jourdan of The Oklahoman received a statement from Norman Public Schools Superintendent Dr. Nick Migliorino saying: “We condemn and will not tolerate the disgusting words and attitudes of these announcers. This type of hate speech has no place in our society and we are outraged that it would be directed at any human being, and particularly at our students.”
“We fully support our students’ right to freedom of expression and our immediate focus is to support these girls and their coaches and families, particularly our Black students and coaching staff,” the statement continued.
The real star of All-Star weekend. https://t.co/jAMuWDI2Vl
— Game 7 (@game7__) March 9, 2021
“It is tragic that the hard work and skill of this team is being overshadowed by the vile, malignant words of these individuals. We will do everything in our power to support and uplift our team and everyone affected by this incident.
“Moving forward NPS will rely only on our long-standing, community partner SportsTalk Media to live stream the remainder of the tournament, as we have full confidence in their proven ability to respectfully support our student athletes.”
Race relations has been an important topic of conversation in sports over the past few months. One beloved ESPN NBA commentator got into hot water for some racist talk. Another increasingly popular NFL commentator fell into a similar trap.
And then of course just this past week Miami Heat big man Meyers Leonard was caught on a livestream spewing some very hateful verbiage.
Hopefully the offending parties take some time to recognize why the things they say are deeply hurtful. But if history is any indication – it’s going to be a very slow growth process for all involved.
Jennifer Withers Hoey is a former Business Development Manager who transitioned to writing about sports. With valuable connections all over the West Coast, she has used those contacts to break some of the most interesting stories pertaining to the Portland Trail Blazers, Oregon Ducks, LA Lakers, LA Clippers, Seattle Supersonics (RIP), and more.