A Hulbert football coach recently suspended from his duties has sued The Daily Oklahoman and other media for identifying him as the individual who made racist slurs during a recent basketball tournament.
Scott Sapulpa, a former assistant football coach at Muskogee High School, filed a civil suit in Muskogee County District Court against The Oklahoman and their owner, Gannett Co., Inc. for multiple judgments in excess of $75,000, according to court documents.
Sapulpa also is seeking damages from two employees of The Oklahoman as well as against CBS Sports Inc., NFHS Network and Matthew Shawn Rowan.
Rowan made racist comments about members of a girls basketball team who were kneeling during the national anthem in March, and The Oklahoman reported that Sapulpa made the comments.
On the video, Rowan is heard to refer to the players as “f****** n******.” He said, "I hope Norman gets their ass kicked,” and then, "I hope they lose. C'mon Midwest City. They're gonna kneel like that? Hell no.”
Rowan, who owns OSPN Live, had been under contract to film playoff games for the Oklahoma Secondary School Athletics Association. He said that when he made the comments about the players, he didn’t realize the microphone was on, and said his blood sugar was low, causing him to make the comments. The video was posted to Twitter, and within a few hours, it had circulated all over the country.
The Oklahoman had initially identified Sapulpa as the announcer who made the racist slurs. Sapulpa, a Hulbert coach, was part of the film crew, but Rowan said Sapulpa was not the one who made the actual comment. Rowan admitted in a statement released through his attorney, Janet Bickel Hutson, that he "regrettably made some statements that cannot be taken back."
Sapulpa said in in the civil suit that his company, Pullman 360, has lost "several local and national accounts, business contracts, business relationships and business opportunities."
Court documents state Sapulpa plans to donate a portion of the damages he receives, if there are any, to the Norman High School athletic department.