“Violence is never the answer, but sometimes it is. And unfortunately, it happened. I don’t regret it. Like, man to man knows who’s wrong and who’s right.”
That was Matt Barnes speaking about his run-in with Derek Fisher at the home of Barnes’ estranged wife back during training camp. Barnes was suspended two games for the incident — the players’ union is appealing that trying to get Barnes his $64,000 in game checks back — and the topic came up again when Barnes’ Grizzlies took on Fishers’ Knicks this week.
Those comments will cost Barnes another $35,000 in fines, the league announced this week.
“Matt Barnes’ comments condoning violence do not reflect who we are as a league or the character of our players,” said Kiki VanDeWeghe, Executive Vice President, Basketball Operations for the league, in a statement. “His words are unacceptable and entirely inconsistent with the core principles of this game and the NBA.”
The NBA is protective of its image; Barnes had to know the fine was coming when he said it.
I’ve always gotten along well with Matt Barnes, he’s been forthright in our dealings, and he does fantastic work with vision charities in the off-season. That said, I think Barnes gets off on the light side here — what he did was abuse. Not with Derek Fisher, that sounded more like an assault legally, but police chose not to arrest him. I mean with Barnes’ estranged wife — trying to control behavior through physical violence is the definition of abuse, and that’s what Barnes was doing here. For a league that would like to avoid that stigma, I’m not sure it came down hard enough on Barnes.