Did he just say “Westbrook is out of his cotton-picking mind”?..... pic.twitter.com/fvPZ5cTkjx— Mark Robinson (@MarkyRobs) April 12, 2018
The flub came during the April 11 game between the Oklahoma City Thunder and the Memphis Grizzlies.
In a viral clip from the game, Westbrook, who plays point guard for the Thunder, sinks a 3-point shot and this is when FOX Sports Oklahoma announcer Brian Davis dropped the comment.
Davis seems to have intended his comment to convey an appreciation for how incredible Westbrook was playing (he became the first NBA player in the history of the league to average a triple double 2 years in a row).
The issue, however, is that there is a lot of debate on the origins of the term "cotton-picking," with some citing it as a slur that was used toward slaves by plantation owners.
Many Twitter users took to engaging in conversation about the clip, with one saying, "Yes, in fairness it is a saying among midwestern white folks (midwestern guy here) my father used to say this until I corrected him on it. He meant nothing of it, but yes it is definitely something he needs to learn not to say."
"I explained to my dad that saying Cotton-Picking is something that would be something that is overwhelmingly attributed to one race," they later added.
In fairness it's an old country phrase that is not racist. Although, prob should have pick better words.— Greg Chedester (@RadioGregC) April 12, 2018
There are others, however, who do not agree with the term being seen as racially-related and felt it was not offensive.
If you’re offended by this, you have serious issues .— worst sports year(s) of all time (@TCinDALLAS) April 12, 2018
"It's a common saying among old people stop making a big deal out of nothing," fired off one fan, while another tweeted, "I swear y'all get do offended of the stupid things lol."
TMZ reports that some have called for Davis to be fired, and there is evidence in the Twitter comments that many do, but the commentator does have support from some who feel his use of the phrase was inappropriate but don't believe he should be let go over it.
"I heard this live and cringed too but the commentator isn't racist tho," wrote one Twitter user, as another stated, "This breaks my heart. I really have nooo clue what he meant by this but Brian Davis is the nicest person ever and did NOT have racist intentions saying this. Him and Russ are so close and he would never say anything derogatory to him or about him!!"
Dumb phrase to use, but there was clearly no malice here. It’s funny seeing all you morons act like he committed genocide tho. 🙄— Holden Caufield (@youngbenj631) April 12, 2018
At this time, neither Westbrook nor the OKC Thunder appear to have commented on the controversy.