Chicken-Fried News: Smack talk 

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For a brief moment in the Oklahoma City Thunder’s road game against the New Orleans Pelicans, Russell Westbrook didn’t use his head.

But he did use someone else’s.

After a Thunder timeout in the first quarter of the Jan. 4 game, while Westbrook walked over to the team huddle, he nonchalantly passed the ball across the court to an unaware referee, pegging him with a crisp line drive to the right side of his head.

Westbrook looked genuinely remorseful, but another game official immediately called a technical foul on the guard.

The Thunder star’s reputation might have preceded him on the call, as Westbrook has already earned nine technical fouls this season. Earlier that day, National Basketball League officials had rescinded two technical calls made earlier in the season.

At Chicken-Fried News press time, Westbrook was tied with the Sacramento Kings’ DeMarcus Cousins for the most technical fouls in the NBA.

There’s a reason we haven’t changed the name of our esteemed satirical Chicken-Fried News roundup to The Protein Powder Report. As shocking as this might be to read, the hard-charging Chicken-Fried News panel is comprised of, at best, pedestrian-level hacks — er, we mean athletes.

Unfortunately, Westbrook’s misfire brings back painful middle-school dodge ball memories for us. The smell of hot rubber is the last thing this writer remembers before that whistling red ball torpedoed me squarely in the nose.

Unlike 14-year-old Billy the Bully, Westbrook clearly had no ill intent when he lobbed that ball toward the ref, and the league should remove the ball-slap mishap technical from his record.

Now if only there was a way to erase the pain of that gym class.  

Print headline: Smack talk
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