Multiple players from the Norman High School girls basketball team have broken their silence about the racist comments that were directed at them by a game announcer as they kneeled to peacefully protest social injustice and racism.
On Monday (March 15), the players teamed up with Attorney Ben Crump to hold a news conference about Matt Rowan, the announcer who called the girls “niggers” as they kneeled during the national anthem.
“We’re demanding that they who regulate the state tournament and all athletic sports in the state of Oklahoma will publicly condemn this racist, terrible, nefarious, awful language directed at these young ladies for taking a stand,” Crump said in a clip acquired by TMZ.
“Really, just being a senior and being able to have four years as much time as I possibly can with all these girls, it’s important for everyone to know that every single one of them is so kind-hearted and choosing to kneel was a team decision,” said Millie Roberts, one of the white players on the team. “We all decided to do it. They are all of my best friends and no matter what happens, I’m always gonna stand by them no matter what it is — stand with them — and that is against racism.”
Rowan, who has since apologized for his actions, blamed his racist outburst on his Type 1 diabetes. “I will state that I suffer Type 1 Diabetes and during the game, my sugar was spiking,” he said. “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.”
Regardless of his interesting apology, the girls want Rowan to be held accountable for his hurtful comments so that this behavior doesn’t repeat itself.
“I took a knee to stand against social injustice and racism,” said player Aaliyah Henderson. “And when I first heard the news that our team was called the N-word, I was just in disbelief. And the broadcaster should be held accountable so something like this doesn’t happen in the future.”
Check out the girls speaking out below.