During Wednesday night’s NBA game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies, an announcer took everyone watching back to slave days when he noted that the All-Star point guard was “out of his cotton-picking mind.”
It was the season finale performance for Westbrook, who probably would’ve won another league MVP had James Harden not played out of his cotton-picking mind.
See what I did there?
Sporting News reports that broadcaster Brian Davis has been the play-by-play announcer for the Thunder on Fox Sports Oklahoma. Davis got a little too excited watching Westbrook’s play during the 137-123 win over the Grizzlies and bizarrely shouted out that Westbrook had lost his “cotton-picking” mind.
Watch the moment below:
I note that the moment was bizarre because Westbrook hadn’t really done anything besides find an open teammate and throw him the ball. In basketball parlance, this is called an assist. It wasn’t even a flashy LeBron James channeling his best Magic Johnson assist. It was just a toss to an open guy who hit the shot.
Also, and this might be the crux of my annoyance with the statement—I didn’t mention that I was annoyed? Well, I am, and not for racial reasons—but, who says “cotton-picking”? Seriously, that’s like yelling out “Jiminy Cricket” or “Jehoshaphat.”
But I’m not ducking the fact that the statement—which has obvious racial overtones harking back to slavery and the time when blacks were actual cotton pickers—was not only inappropriate but also really stupid.
The Thunder released a statement on Davis’ racially insensitive remarks, calling them “offensive and inappropriate.”
Thunder Vice President of Broadcasting Dan Mahoney told the Norman Transcript:
We find the term used by Brian Davis on our broadcast last night to be highly inappropriate and offensive.
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.
Well, good googly-moogly, I’ll be a monkey’s uncle. Wowzers, that was a strong statement. I’m sure Davis has learned his lesson, and if he truly is a throwback racist of some sort, then it will only be a matter of time before he drops another 1960s-style racially inappropriate statement.