Updated with Barnes’s apology
Matt Barnes of the Los Angeles Clippers was angry and frustrated after his ejection Wednesday night and as soon as he got to the locker room, he took that anger and frustration straight to Twitter with an ugly tweet in which he ripped his teammates with a racial slur.
Barnes quickly deleted the tweet, in which he wrote: “I love my teammates like family, but I’m DONE standing up for these [n----as]! All this [expletive] does is cost me money..” but the impact of his word choice.
By late morning, he had apologized to the organization, his teammates, coaches and Clippers fans on Twitter, “for my actions not only on the court, but off. I was completely wrong for pushing [Oklahoma City's Serge] Ibaka and then for what I tweeted following the altercation. … I’ve been doing this for too long to let my emotions get the best of me. My poor choice of words and timing do not reflect who or what I am about. It was very selfish on my part of make this situation about me instead of my teammates that fought their hearts out and earned a big win against a tough [OKC] team.Now I could have [taken] the easy way out and said ‘My Twitter was hacked,’ but that’s not what I’m about. I [accept] full responsibility for all my inappropriate action last night and I am truly sorry.”
Barnes had been ejected after he pushed the Ibaka, who had gotten tangled up with Blake Griffin just before halftime. There was pushing and shoving, with the result that Ibaka also was ejected and Blake Griffin was assessed a technical. After the Clippers 111-103 win, Barnes, who had no comment, can expect a healthy fine, for his language and for tweeting in-game. His word choice, though, still resonated.
“I think he’s very emotional and down that he got thrown out,” Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said (via ESPN). “I get that part but the choice of words obviously, that’s not a word I’m a fan of in all venues.”
Griffin, Chris Paul and J.J. Redick praised Barnes as a good teammate. “I don’t know what he meant by it,” Redick said (via ESPN Los Angeles) but I know what his intent is for his teammates.”
Paul said he would “have to read that and analyze it myself. We won, though.”
Former coach Avery Johnson pointed out the value of just taking a deep breath before reacting. “One of the great things I learned about coaching from coaches like Don Nelson … and Gregg Popovich — sometimes don’t say what you mean especially after a game,” Johnson said on ESPN. “Sometimes, give it 24 hours. Calm down. Let your emotions calm down.”