The Oklahoma City Thunder said play-by-play announcer Brian Davis used "offensive and inappropriate" words when he said during Wednesday's broadcast that Russell Westbrook was "out of his cotton-pickin' mind."
"We think, obviously, the use of that term was offensive and inappropriate, and I expressed that to Brian last night," Dan Mahoney, the team's vice president of broadcasting, told The Norman Transcript on Thursday. "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 phrase after Westbrook made a steal during the second quarter of the Thunder's win over the Memphis Grizzlies on Wednesday. The Thunder's All-Star point guard became the first player to average a triple-double in multiple seasons during the game, finishing the season with an average of 25.4 points, 10.1 rebounds and 10.3 assists.
The phrase "out of his cotton-pickin' mind," which loosely means "crazy," had its origins in describing workers who harvested cotton crops in the South and is often perceived as derogatory, with racial overtones. It set off a firestorm on social media.
The Thunder said they did not know whether Davis, a full-time employee of the team, would apologize for his comments on a future broadcast.
"That's really up to Brian," Mahoney said. "Again, we've expressed to him strongly that it was offensive and inappropriate, and that's all we can do for right now."