The Oklahoma City Thunder slammed a broadcaster Thursday for using the "offensive" term “cotton-picking” to describe star player Russell Westbrook’s play in the team’s regular season finale.
The Thunder said in a statement the phrase “out of his cotton-picking mind,” used by play-by-play announcer Brian Davis, was “highly inappropriate and offensive,” according to TMZ Sports.
“We think obviously the use of that term was offensive and inappropriate, and I expressed that to Brian last night,” Thunder Vice President of Broadcasting Dan Mahoney told The Norman Transcript. "Brian assures me that it was not meant in any derogatory way, and he apologizes. But again, we feel strongly that it's inappropriate and offensive.”
Davis used the term to describe Westbrook’s play in the second quarter, while the superstar point guard was on his way to becoming the first NBA player to average a triple-double in two seasons.
The expression “out of his cotton-picking mind” is generally another way to say "crazy" or "unbelievable." But the phrase also has racial overtones, given that many slaves were forced to literally pick cotton.
Davis, who has done play-by-play for the Thunder on Fox Sports Oklahoma for eight seasons, didn’t appear to use the phrase maliciously, but came under fire for using it anyway.
Mahoney told The Norman Transcript he was unsure whether Davis would apologize for the comment the next time he was behind the mic.
"That's really up to Brian," he said. "Again, we've expressed to him strongly that it was offensive and inappropriate, and that's all we can do for right now."