An NBA announcer was suspended for the first game of the playoffs after allegedly using a racially offensive phrase in reference to a star player, Sporting News reported.
What did he say?
Brian Davis is the play-by-play announcer for the Oklahoma City Thunder, and is employed by the franchise.
When Oklahoma City Thunder star Russell Westbrook made an impressive pass during the second quarter of Wednesday night’s game against the Memphis Grizzlies, Davis exclaimed that Westbrook was “out of his cotton-pickin’ mind.”
The term, which is viewed by some as a racially charged reference to slaves picking cotton, is often used, particularly in the South, as a stand-in for curse words.
What was the backlash?
As the reaction to the comment spread across social media, Thunder Vice President of Broadcasting Dan Mahoney issued a statement to 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.”
Was there an apology?
Davis issued an apology Friday, and accepted his punishment.
“It is with great remorse and humility that I accept this suspension for the insensitive words I used during Wednesday’s broadcast. 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.