A basketball announcer was caught on a hot mic calling a high school girls’ team the N-word as they kneeled in protest during the national anthem.
The Norman High girls’ team kneeled in protest before their quarterfinal in the Oklahoma 6A State Basketball Tournament against Midwest City.
"They're kneeling? F***** n*****," the announcer can be heard saying on the National Federation of State High School Associations online stream, a short video of which was shared and viewed widely on Twitter.
"I hope Norman gets their ass kicked. F*** them. I hope they lose. C'mon Midwest City. They're gonna kneel like that? Hell no," the person adds.
The announcer was contracted by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association to announce the game during an online stream.
OSSAA executive director David Jackson said: "On behalf of the NFHS Network and the OSSAA, we sincerely apologize that this happened at one of our events. While we are currently investigating the incident, this crew will not be doing any more games for the remainder of our championships. This kind of behaviour will never be tolerated by anyone representing the NFHS or OSSAA."
The NFHS Network said it's "aggressively investigating the incident" and added that they will cut ties to the individuals involved.
Norman Public Schools emphasized its support for its players and that it will no longer rely on the NFHS Network to broadcast its games. The players have been kneeling before games since the middle of January, The Norman Transcript reported.
NPS Superintendent Dr Nick Migliorino said: "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.
"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."
Norman High player Chantae Embry tweeted: "People want to know why we kneel, here’s a prime example of why we do it. I’m proud of my team and I for using our voices and being heard."
Oklahoma State Superintendent of Public Instruction Joy Hofmeister said: “The remarks made were sickening and vile. It is critical on all of us to be clear that racism has no place in society and must never be tolerated, especially in our public schools. My heart aches for the young female athletes who were subjected to this hateful and disgusting tirade.”
Democratic Minority Leader in the Oklahoma House of Representatives Emily Virgin tweeted: "I am absolutely disgusted by the actions of the broadcasters who used racist slurs against our Norman High basketball team. They should immediately resign or be fired. Our student-athletes should be commended for their courage, not disparaged. Heartbreaking."
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