Berry Tramel, The Oklahoman
Published 9:54 a.m. ET March 13, 2021
Racists are everywhere. Maybe we all didn’t know that a year ago. Maybe we thought the racists had been diminished, scattered to the fringes and dark corners of society.
But no. They’re everywhere.
They’re in politics and in pulpits. In police forces and armed forces. In business and in barnyards. On school boards and college campuses.
And sometimes they’re on the microphone announcing state basketball tournaments.
Not that long ago, we just used the Dixie flag to identify the racists. The idiots who wish they were in the land of cotton could be identified easily.
Now, not so much. Now, we rely on technology, like iPhone videos or live mics.
The latter is what introduced us to the announcing crew at Sapulpa High School, a public high school in Sapulpa, Oklahoma, on Thursday.
One of the announcers took issue with the Norman High School girls basketball team kneeling during the national anthem in the Class 6A state tournament.
“They’re kneeling? (Expletive) (racial slur). I hope Norman gets their ass kicked,” the announcer says.
The good news, such as it is, is that the Tigers beat Midwest City 53-40, avoiding getting its ass kicked. The same cannot be said of the announcer, who identified himself late Friday.
Matt Rowan has been branded, not just for being a racist, but for being un-American. That has to hurt. But protesting protesters is un-American.
And while we’re at it, remember that the announcer said those words while “The Star-Spangled Banner” was being played. Talking vile during “the rampart’s red glare.” Who exactly was disrespecting the flag and the anthem?
“THIS IS WHY THEY KNEEL,” tweeted out Norman assistant coach Frankie Parks.
Ironic, don’t you think? The need for the very thing they appear to be kneeling for — racial justice and equality — was on display while they were kneeling.
Some have lamented that these Norman girls have had to endure such awful treatment. But I don’t know. Teenage girls in Oklahoma brave enough to kneel during the national anthem probably are wise enough to know the sordid tale has its positives. One more racist exposed, and maybe a few more people come to enlightenment.
No one wants to be connected to anything that happened Thursday at Sapulpa High School. The Oklahoma Secondary School Activities Association contracts with the National Federation of State High School Associations to live stream the basketball championships.
The NFHS Network contracts local production companies to produce the games. Sometimes those companies secure the announcers; sometimes those companies ask the OSSAA for assistance.
I don’t know if Rowan’s life will be ruined. The best-case scenario would be if he becomes an advocate for change. I know, that’s pollyannaish. There are few Damascus Roads.
But the announcer is on the losing side. Five years ago, Colin Kaepernick led a tiny army. America recoiled at his kneeling. His army is not so small anymore, extending all the way to the plains of Oklahoma, fueled not so much by Kaepernick, but the unamericans who protest protesting, who hold dear a piece of cloth and musical notes, instead of the ideals they symbolize.