During the Thunder's final regular-season game on Wednesday night, Davis said that Westbrook was "out of his cotton-picking mind" following a nifty assist by the guard. Westbrook finished the game with six points, 20 rebounds and 19 assists, as he clinched averaging a triple-double for the second straight season.
Davis issued a statement to ESPN in which he said, "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 judgement, such mistakes come with consequences. This is an appropriate consequence for my actions.”
What's the origin of the phrase 'Cotton-picking'?
It can come as as little surprise that the term 'cotton-picking' originated in the southern states of the USA, where it is usually pronounced cotton-pickin'. It began life in the late 1700s and differs from the 19th century Dixie term, 'cottonpicker', in that the latter was derogatory and racist, whereas 'cotton-picking' referred directly to the difficulty and harshness of gathering the crop. This didn't extend to the specific expression 'keep your cotton-picking hands off of me'. This no doubt alludes to the horny, calloused (and usually black) hands that picked cotton.
Manual cotton picking was tough work. The southern expression 'cutting in high cotton', which means 'have it easy', refers to the relatively easy task of cutting cotton without having to bend down.
Where memory doesn't play tricks is when recalling the works of the sainted Bugs Bunny. While not originating the term, Bugs can claim to have done more to fix it into the language than the rest of rabbitkind, especially in its most often used form 'Wait just a cotton-picking minute'. There's an example in Bully for Bugs, 1953:
"Just a cotton-pickin' minute, this don't look like the Coachella Valley to me!"
In this instance, the poor groveling announcer meant it as a compliment, after a player had made a spectacular play: "He's out of his cotton-picking mind", but no matter, some people interpret it refer to slaves picking cotton, and so a person emptying the phrase is guilty of racism. Intent means nothing, actual meaning means nothing: if someone has a false, ignorant "knowledge" of any phrase or word and is offended, the guillotine awaits.
The country's gone insane.