While the United States' national anthem was played before Norman High and Midwest City's 6A girls state quarterfinals game on Thursday, an individual was heard making racist comments toward NHS players on a feed streaming the game.
According to Norman Public Schools, the person, who's not yet been identified, was contracted by the Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association to announce the game on a National Federation of High School (NFHS) Network online stream.
The person's comments were made after noticing the NHS players kneeled during the national anthem.
"They're kneeling? F***** n*****," the individual stated. "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."
Hey @NFHSNetwork looks like you forgot to cut the Mic!!! "F****** N******" is the one that really got me!! Tell us how you really feel!! THIS IS WHY THEY KNEEL!!!@Migliorino_Nick @tohara_o @NHS_AthDept @gonormantigers pic.twitter.com/mmWQAecLaF— Frankie Parks (@CoachFParks) March 12, 2021
NPS has responded to the incident. NPS said it will no longer rely on the network to broadcast its games and that it supports its student-athletes' freedom of expression.
Here is NPS Superintendent Dr. Nick Migliorino's full statement:
"Last night during the Norman High School girls’ basketball game versus Midwest City in the Oklahoma 6A State Basketball Tournament, National Federation of High School (NFHS) Network announcers on a live stream broadcast made racist and hateful comments targeted at our Norman High student athletes. The announcers were contracted by OSSAA for the state tournament.
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. 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."
Several Norman High players, administrators and local figures took to Twitter to respond as well.
• Chantae Embry, NHS senior post: "every knee shall bow and every tongue shall confess. disgusting. and 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. I love my girls & let’s finish. #MORETHANANATHLETE"
• Myka Perry, NHS junior guard: "Disrespectful and disgusting. This is why we kneel. I love my sisters, and this makes us that much stronger. You are part of the problem."
• T.D. O'Hara (@tohara_o): "This type of disgusting behavior has no place in our society. THIS IS WHY THEY KNEEL!"
• Breea Clark, Norman Mayor (@ClarkForNorman): "I am livid and absolutely disgusted about the racist and hateful comments directed towards the young women on the Norman High School basketball team by a game announcer in the live broadcast of last night’s game.
"These young athletes were simply expressing themselves as hundreds of professional athletes around the nation have done, and no one, let alone a child, deserves to experience this kind of racist and toxic behavior. The announcer could’ve stopped with declaring he hoped our team would lose, but instead he went further and decided to use profanity and racist slurs about our children. Join me in calling for the @OSSAAOnline to end their contract w/ the National Federation of High School (NFHS) Network.
"Their employees do not need to be anywhere near children. Further, these young women & their team deserve a public apology from NFHS and OSSAA. There is NO PLACE for this behavior in our nation, & certainly not in youth sports. I commend Dr. Migliorino, the NHS Girls' basketball team, and @NormanSchools on their strong statement denouncing and condemning this incident."
This is a developing story.