A former Muskogee high school assistant football coach has filed a civil lawsuit in Muskogee County District Court against an online streaming service and its owner seeking damages in excess of $75,000, according to court documents.
Scott Sapulpa is seeking damages from Oklahoma Sports Programming Network (OSPN) and OSPN owner Matthew Shawn Rowan after an incident in March 2021.
Rowan and Sapulpa were broadcasting a women’s basketball tournament game between Norman High School and Midwest City. Norman’s daughters knelt on one knee during the national anthem and Rowan took offense at the gesture.
During a break before the start of the game, Rowan is heard making racist comments about the Normandy team.
On the video, and not realizing the microphone was still on, Rowan is heard calling the players “f****** n******”. He said, “I hope Norman gets his ass kicked,” then “I hope they lose. Come on Midwest City. They gonna kneel like that? Sure not.”
Oklahoman originally identified Sapulpa as the announcer who uttered the racial slurs. Sapulpa, a Hulbert trainer at the time, was on the camera crew, but Rowan said Sapulpa was not the one who made the comment. Rowan admitted in a statement released by his lawyer, Janet Bickel Hutson, that he “regrettably made statements which could not be retracted”.
Rowan said that when he made comments about the players, he didn’t realize the microphone was on and said his blood sugar was low, which led him to comment. The video was posted on Twitter and, within hours, it was circulating across the country.
The documents state that Rowan “accidentally and negligently” forgot to take his prescriptions, which caused him and the OSPN, “accidentally, negligently and in violation of industry custom and practice”, to do not turn off the microphone in the studio booth during unscheduled hours. be broadcast.
He also states that OSPN and Rowan “negligently failed to clarify the record in a timely manner that Rowan was the person who made the comments that were accidentally and negligently released to the public”, and that Sapulpa was not. .
Sapulpa alleges in the papers that the negligence caused him “proximately bodily harm,” hence his justification for seeking compensatory damages against OSPN and Rowan.