Memphis Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes has been fined $35,000 for his “inappropriate” comments about Knicks coach Derek Fisher, the New York Post reports.
League disciplinarian Kiki Vandeweghe was reportedly furious at Matt Barnes for saying “violence is sometimes justified” before Saturday’s contest between the Memphis Grizzlies and the New York Knicks.
“There’s support throughout the league, other leagues, GMs, owners, entertainers, actors, everybody. It’s been a great support,” Barnes said. “Every man who looks at the situation knows what’s right and wrong. Violence is never the answer, but sometimes it is.”
“I just don’t like him. Plain and simple,” Barnes told reporters before the game started. “He knows I don’t like him. Don’t say nothing to me. I don’t plan on saying nothing to him. Don’t try to shake my hand. There’s none of that. There’s nothing there. There never will be. Just stay away from me, basically.”
The hateful comments didn’t sit well with Vandeweghe, who released a statement following his decision to fine Barnes.
“Matt Barnes’ comments condoning violence do not reflect who we are as a league or the character of our players,” Kiki said. “His words are unacceptable and entirely inconsistent with the core principles of this game and the NBA.”
Barnes said that he’s not going to go after Fisher on the sidelines, but he was quick to hurl some shots at him by suggesting that the New York coach was a non-factor in the Knicks’ improvement this year.
“We’re focused on playing the Knicks. We’re not worried about who’s coaching them. Our focus is on Carmelo [Anthony] and the rookie that they got who is playing amazing [Kristaps Porzingis] and [Arron] Afflalo and Derrick Williams. They got a talented team. That’s what we’re focused on right now.
“I’m worried about the players. I’m not worried about the coaches.”
Back in October, Matt Barnes was fined $63,000 and given a two-day unpaid suspension when he attacked Derek Fisher at the Los Angeles home of Gloria Govan. Govan, who is allegedly dating Fisher, also happens to be Barnes’ estranged wife. According to Bleacher Report, Fisher was having a rendezvous with Gloria when Matt entered the house. An NBA investigation also discovered that Barnes had sent threatening text messages to Fisher for weeks before the attack happened.
On New Year’s eve, Matt also referred to Fisher as a “snake and a snitch” in an Instagram post. After shooting 6-6 from the three-point line in Thursday’s win over the Detroit Pistons, Matt told the Memphis Commercial-Appeal about his mindset in the upcoming showdown with Derek Fisher’s team.
“I know I’ve got to keep my mouth shut because [Fisher] will run and tell. We’re really focused on playing that team. When I’m retired, him and I will cross paths.”
Matt Barnes says he won’t talk to Derek Fisher during game, because ‘he’ll run and tell’ https://t.co/NglW7NY30b
— Kurt Helin (@basketballtalk) January 15, 2016
According to Barnes, even some Knicks players approached him to show their support for his revenge act.
“It’s been great — my teammates, organization, other guys throughout the league, people from his team, people from other sports, people from the entertainment world. I’ve gotten a lot of support throughout the whole situation. Unfortunately, I got suspended. That’s in the past. Now we are focused on playing against the players from the Knicks.”
Derek Fisher says being on the same court as Matt Barnes has "no impact" on him. https://t.co/Iesy6qfcK0
— NBA on ESPN (@ESPNNBA) January 16, 2016
Matt Barnes didn’t specify who among the Knicks players backed him up. In this vein, it’s worth noting that Derek Fisher has never been a teammate of any current Knick during his 13-year career as a player in the NBA.
Matt Barnes and Derek Fisher used to be teammates on the Los Angeles Lakers squad from 2010-2012, but the friendship is now in shambles due to their current feud. Matt said that the camaraderie they once had doesn’t matter anymore.
“It doesn’t matter what we were,” Barnes said. “I’m not worried about what we were. We’re nothing [now].”
[Photos by Kathy Willens/Associated Press and Harry How/Getty Images]