Russell Westbrook’s major showing during the Oklahoma City Thunder’s final regular-season game was overshadowed Wednesday when a long-time NBA announcer exclaimed something many deemed racist.
The guard scored six points, 20 rebounds and 19 assists during the April 11 game against the Memphis Grizzlies. But Eight-season announcer Brian Davis’ call four and a half minutes into the second quarter was the focus of the event.
“Westbrook is out of his cotton-pickin’ mind!” he says.
Immediately, Twitter users tweeted their dismay over the phrase which references enslaved Black people being forced to endure hot days and bloody hands on a cotton field.
“So, is no one else offended by the remark made by #okcthunder tv announcer #BrianDavis?” a user asked. “I know he knew using ‘cotton pickin’ mind’ was meant negatively so there’s no excuse!”
“That’s former Seattle broadcaster and notorious OKC sellout Brian Davis with the racist undertones,” someone else said.
My face when Brian Davis said was Russ was out of his “cotton pickin’” mind. pic.twitter.com/R1hP7vZ9H5
— Alex Joseph (@alex_broseph) April 12, 2018
Others assured folks that Davis is not racist.
“Brian Davis is a long time Thunder broadcaster that does weird ass one-liner constantly,” someone said. “He’s a good dude and not a racist, any local here will tell you that.”
“All I said was I’ve never heard it before bud,” someone began. “But Brian Davis is not a racist. Ask anyone in the Thunder organization, he’s a good dude.”
“Brian Davis is definitely not racist and as someone who’s watched Thunder basketball and him commentate for 10 years, he’s an incredibly nice guy,” another proclaimed. “He’s using a term that simply means ‘damn.’ And yes I’m not saying it’s okay I’m just saying he didn’t mean anything by it.”
While Westbrook hasn’t publicly commented on the phrase, the OKC Thunder released a response.
“We find the term used by Brian Davis on our broadcast last night to be highly inappropriate and offensive,” it said in a statement obtained by TMZ Thursday. “We’ve discussed it with the announcer and let him know that. He assures us it was not meant in any sort of offensive or derogatory manner and he apologizes.”
“Nonetheless, he’s been told the use of that term in any manner is unacceptable,” it added.