Who will Scott Sapulpa sue first?

A fascinating story out of Oklahoma from today; one that involves racism, journalism and the eternally awful rush to be first (as opposed to first and unquestionably correct) with a scoop.

So during a Thursday broadcast of a girls basketball game between Norman High and Midwest City High, an announcer went off on a racist rant when members of one of the teams decided to kneel during the anthem. The announcer was unaware that his mic remained on, and what he said was, well, pick an adjective. Any adjective. Disgusting, pathetic, hurtful, damning, sad. Again, take your choice. Here’s the audio, if you’re interested …

I first learned of the situation via a friend’s Twitter DM, and was naturally curious. Who uttered the words? Was this guy known to be a racist? Was he an educator? A volunteer? Old? Young? So I continued to monitor until, a few hours later, Cameron Jourdon of The Oklahoman broke that the culprit was a local preps coach named Scott Sapulpa.

I thought about it quite a bit, and DMed Cameron this message …

Before long, Scott Sapulpa deleted all of his social media. A phone number (attached to his business) went mini-viral across the Twitter landscape, and I’ve gotta think he received a good number of angry/threatening phone calls. Which is kind of understandable, considering what he said on the open mic.

Only, um …

Eh …

Well …

Hmm …

Scott Sapulpa didn’t say it.

Here’s an update from Cameron Jourdon, posted roughly two hours ago …

Oy.

It turns out the racist asswipe was someone named Matt Rowan, who issued the following press release …

Matt is a married father of two; a former youth pastor and a member of a Baptist church. He says he suffers from Type 1 Diabetes, and he says his sugar was spiking during the anthem. For the record, my father-in-law also has diabetes. It’s curious, but I’ve never heard him go on a racist tirade mid-sugar spike. Maybe because (cough cough) he’s not a racist, and the n-word doesn’t reside on his tongue. Weird how that works.

Anyhow, Matt’s future as a youth pastor is probably in flux—as (I’m guessing) is Scott Sapulpa’s bank account, which should grow exponentially after he sues The Oklahoman for ruining his life and reputation and having to forever answer the question, “Are you the guy who …”

As for Cameron Jourdon—I feel for him. Truly. As one who has made his fair share of mistakes through the years (and I did not come up during the era of social media—praise Jesus), I know how hard this gig can be. I know, in 2021, there’s immense pressure to break the story; to be first; to score the victory and lather in the goodness of 100,000 re-tweets.

But, man, I dunno.

This doesn’t end well.

9 thoughts on “Who will Scott Sapulpa sue first?”

  1. I’ve learned, after having made some painful mistakes myself, that no story is worth rushing out there first because the cost of getting it wrong is always more than the perceived benefits of getting it first. In this case both the reporter and the wrongly named person have been grievously hurt, especially the latter. The impact of the incorrect report also has the unintended effect of diminishing the all out condemnation that should rightly fall on the shoulders of the actual culprit.

  2. If Scott Salpulpa sat quietly while his friend Matt Rowan called a high school girls basketball team “f*cking n-words,” then he shouldn’t count on receiving more than ten cents in damages. Why? Because there isn’t a dime’s worth of reputational difference between the man who directs the N-word at little girls and the man who says nothing when his friend directs the N-word at little girls. If that’s how it unfolded, then neither man should ever be around little girls ever again.

  3. White people think that they can continue to offend black people and then offer this two dollar apology and continue with their racist life. If the microphone had been turned off, would he had apologized. No, he would be out with his boys laughing about the very same words that he said. He should never be able to have anything to do with another kid. The apology is fake.

  4. He kept saying “C’mon, Matt!” Go back and listen to the audio again. He said it a few times. What else was he supposed to do? All of you high-and-mighties…what would YOU do?

  5. He need to sue himself. Why was it so comfortable for his co-announcer to even say that to him?!?! You know why… So does everyone else. We live in is litigious society… so go ahead. Let’s see how it works out.

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