OKLAHOMA CITY (AP) — Thunder television play-by-play man Brian Davis has been suspended for Game 1 of the playoff series against Utah on Sunday for a comment he made about star Russell Westbrook during Oklahoma City’s regular-season finale against Memphis.
Davis said Westbrook was “out of his cotton-pickin’ mind,” an exclamation that came after the Oklahoma City guard made an assist in Wednesday’s game on his way to setting an NBA record for averaging a triple-double in multiple seasons.
Cotton picking was the primary responsibility for black slaves in the South, so the term can be offensive when used by a white person to describe a black person. Many took to social media to complain about Davis’ choice of words. Davis is white and Westbrook is black.
Dan Mahoney, the Thunder’s vice president of broadcasting and corporate communications, said the team considered the comment “inappropriate.”
“It is with great remorse and humility that I accept this suspension for the insensitive words I used during Wednesday’s broadcast,” Davis said in a statement. “While unintentional, I understand and acknowledge the gravity of the situation. I offer my sincere apology and realize that, while I committed a lapse in judgment, such mistakes come with consequences. This is an appropriate consequence for my actions.”
Davis also apologized on Facebook.
Mahoney said Matt Pinto, the team’s radio play-by-play announcer, will step in for the television broadcast, and the audio for television will be used for radio as a simulcast.