Some Support Matt Barnes’ Usage Of The N-Word, Others Oppose

When Los Angeles Clippers forward Matt Barnes tweeted “I love my teammates like family, but I’m DONE standing up for these n—as! All this s— does is cost me money. …” after being ejected from his team’s game against the Oklahoma City Thunder on November 13th, he received a large amount of flack and was fined $25,000 by the NBA.

Barnes, who was ejected from the game after shoving Thunder forward Serge Ibaka in the chest, later deleted the tweet and also apologized for his actions on the court. But he’s recently backtracked his initial statements and decided to defend his usage of the N-word.

Here are some of the statements that Barnes has made regarding the issue:

“The word I used is a word that’s used on the court, used in the locker room, used amongst my friends and family; it’s a regular word to me,” Barnes said. “I think my mistake was using it in a social manner, which I regret and I apologize for it. But you guys have to get used to it.”

“If you look at the particular way I said it, kids are seeing that through music, through their favorite artists, and probably some of their favorite movies and even on TV now,” Barnes. “The word is not necessarily a racial slur. Everyone is trying to paint it like I made some kind of hate crime or something. It’s a word that I guarantee you will be used out here on the court today. It’s a word that I’ve already heard in the locker room. It’s not as big a deal as people are trying to make it.”

Former NBA player and current sports analyst Charles Barkley defended Barnes’ usage of the word and encouraged him to refrain from feeling apologetic about it. Shaquille O’Neal, another past NBA player and current sport’s talk personality, supported Barkley’s statements.

“I use the N-word … I’m going to continue to use the N-word with my black friends, with my white friends,” Barkley said.

There are a couple other sports analysts that don’t agree with Barnes, Barkley, and O’Neal’s stance on the usage of the N-word. NBA legend Isaiah Thomas along with past b-baller Grant Hill recently opened up about their thoughts on the issue. Thomas provided a heartfelt speech on the word, its history, and encouraged African-Americans to do their best to refrain from using the term. Hill supported Thomas’ statements but admitted that he does use the word.

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