An announcer for an Oklahoma high school girls basketball game was caught during the broadcast calling girls on one of the teams a racial slur as they kneeled during the national anthem.
In a video shared on Twitter, it doesn’t appear the announcers realize their mic is working. As the students from Norman High School kneel, one asked “They’re kneeling?”
“I hope Norman gets their a– kicked,” an announcer continued. “F—— n——.”
The Oklahoma Secondary Schools Activities Association (OSSAA) said the broadcast team for the state tournament game against Midwest City High School was hired by the National Federation of High School (NFHS) Network, which owns the video rights.
A NFHS statement, sent to NBC News from OSSAA’s Sports Information Director, said the network was “sickened by the comments.”
“The thoughts expressed in no way represent the NFHS Network and we are outraged that they found their way into our production,” the statement said. “The NFHS Network firmly condemns racism, hate and discrimination, and there is no room for this in high school sports or anywhere.”
NFHS apologized to the students and their families, adding that the incident was under investigation and the announcers would “have no relationship with the NFHS Network moving forward.”
Norman Public Schools Superintendent Nick Migliorino said in a statement that district officials “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,” 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.”
He said Norman Public Schools would no longer be using NFHS Network but rather SportsTalk Media, “as we have full confidence in their proven ability to respectfully support our student athletes.”
Midwest City High Schools District Superintendent Rick Cobb said he hoped OSSAA would not use NFHS for the rest of the tournament and “review any future contracts they have for broadcasting school activities in our state.”
“Language of this kind is an affront to the lessons we try to teach our students and the kind of world in which we all want to live,” said Cobb, the superintendent of Mid-Del School District.