Posted November 14, 2013

Charles Barkley: ‘No apology needed’ from Matt Barnes for using racial slur

Ben Golliver, Blake Griffin, Charles Barkley, Los Angeles Clippers, Matt Barnes, Oklahoma City Thunder, Serge Ibaka, TNT

The NBA fined Clippers forward Matt Barnes $25,000 Thursday following his ejection from L.A.’s 111-103 victory over Oklahoma City on Wednesday night. Officially, Barnes was dinged for “failing to leave the court in a timely manner … and using inappropriate language on his Twitter account.”

“I love my teammates like family, but I’m DONE standing up for these n—–!” Barnes wrote, using a racial slur to refer to his fellow Clippers. “All this s— does is cost me money.”

TNT commentator Charles Barkley defended Barnes’ right to use the language on Thursday while also acknowledging that it was a mistake for Barnes to air his feelings in a public manner. 

“Matt Barnes, there’s no apology needed,” Barkley told fellow TNT commentators Ernie Johnson and Shaquille O’Neal. “I’m a black man. I use the N-word. I’m going to continue to use the N-word with my black friends, with my white friends, they are my friends. … Hey, Ernie, in a locker room and with my friends, we use racial slurs. I understand he should not have made it public.”

Barnes apologized for the remarks Thursday, which he had quickly deleted from his account.

“My poor choice of words [and] timing do not reflect who or what I am about,” Barnes wrote. “I could have took 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!”

Barkley, a Hall of Fame forward who retired in 2000, continued on the topic for roughly five minutes, asserting that Barnes’ language with his teammates should not be subject to the judgment or standards set by “White America” or others who are not a part of the specific locker room environment.

“Listen, what I do with my black friends is not up to White America to dictate to me what is appropriate and inappropriate,” Barkley said. “White people, white reporters, Number one, they don’t have the courage to go in the locker room, that’s why they’re reporters. What we say in the locker room, it should always stay in the locker room. The language we use, sometimes it’s homophobic, sometimes it’s sexist, a lot of times it’s racist. We do that when we’re joking with our teammates. It’s nothing personal. This national debate that’s going on right now, it makes me uncomfortable that regular people try to act like they have the courage to play pro sports. They don’t have that. … White America [doesn't] get to dictate how me and Shaq talk to each other.”

ESPNLA.com reported Wednesday that Clippers coach Doc Rivers took exception to Barnes’ use of the racial slur.

“I think he’s very emotional and down that he got thrown out,” Rivers said. “I get that part, but the choice of words, obviously that’s not a word I’m a fan of in all venues.”

While Barkley and O’Neal were both adamant that it was their right to use the N-word, Barkley said that the use of the word was a topic raised by his former teammates and white friends, and that some African-Americans have no tolerance for the word.

“As I tell my white friends, who I love like brothers, whether it’s Joe Kleine, Mike Gminski, Dan Majerle,” Barkley recounted. “They’ve asked me, ‘When is it appropriate?’ I said, ‘If you use it around the wrong brother, the next thing you’re going to hear is a clock upside your damn head.’ “

WATCH: Clippers’ Matt Barnes shoves Thunder’s Serge Ibaka

In Barkley’s opinion, the media focus on Barnes’ use of the N-word distracted from Barnes’ original point, which is that he shouldn’t need to be the Clippers’ enforcer. Barnes was ejected for shoving Serge Ibaka in the chest with both hands after the Thunder forward became entangled with All-Star forward Blake Griffin. Those two players were previously involved in an incident last season, when Ibaka hit Griffin with a low blow. Barkley said, essentially, that it’s time for Griffin to do his own dirty work.

“Blake Griffin, I like you, you seem like a nice kid, I’ve never even met you,” Barkley said. “You’re a very good player but people are starting to talk. And you know the people. Other guys are starting to knock the hell out of you all the time. You ain’t got to hurt anybody, people who fight all the time, they’re punks. You’ve got to draw a line in the sand. I joke [a]bout it. The toughest guy on your team can’t be 5-foot-3, that’d be Chris Paul. … Blake Griffin I like you a lot, you’ve got to stop these guys from hitting on you. Shaquille O’Neal is a perfect example, He started knocking the hell out of people because we had this rule, you have to hit him, you have to hit him hard. At some point, Shaq drew a line in the sand.”

Video via YouTube user sky2847

72 comments
vatodio
vatodio

A bad word is simply a bad word, no matter what.

Only the apologists would dig deep for the meaning/intent/context.


Current crop of Black Role models/leaders think they got it.

Guess they never heard of a story of "cry wolf...."

These fools don't realize they are leading their people to commit Harakiri.

Stoke enough white guilt, and it will boomerang sooner or later.

ted7117
ted7117

"Courage to play pro sports?"

How about winning the gene lottery and getting paid more money than anyone on the planet to play a game!

I love you Charles, but it doesn't courage to play a game.  It takes courage to stand up for what you believe in in the face of ridicule and hatred.

NickCharles1
NickCharles1

True racism is in the hearts, not just the lips. And no word is in and of itself racist. It always depends on context, even if spoken between whites or black and white.  But the politically correct, simple-minded don't understand this.

RobertJacke
RobertJacke

Why do African American players get a pass for using the N-word......And complain white players use the N-word when they hear that word in ALL locker rooms..........Charles Please.........

willywhite68
willywhite68

Get real, black people use the word to disparage one anther too. If you've spent any time with blacks you know that when the word is used as it was in the tweet he means to be derogatory. In the age of political correctness does this mean that if you are the same as the person you are deriding it is acceptable? I say no. However, I'm bald and I find it easier to be kidded by another bald guy but I sure as hell know when the other guy isn't kidding too.

NFL_Madness
NFL_Madness

Why is it that media is publishing all this racist crap all over the world.  I know there are words that shouldn't be said, but lately it seems the media is using it as propaganda to slip the American people.  Not just in sports. They latch on to it and spread it all over so people can see.

John 8:7 - He that is without sin among you, let him first cast a stone at her.

Everyone makes mistake but it doesn't have to be plastered all of the world.

jackgorfin
jackgorfin

this nigge* is right, leave him alone

UtahPete
UtahPete

Barnes should be fined for taking locker room issues out in the open. If he is upset with his teammates then he should tell them upfront and not tweet about it. 

amarshall54
amarshall54

As you can tell from my comments, this whole N-thing should be a non-issue.  WHO CARES ... I mean really.  We have placed this wholly artificial stigma on one word.  I repeat ... who cares.  Barkley and Shaq, as an example, will say what they want to each other, and they could not think LESS about what any of us think.  Move on!

Nate the Pate
Nate the Pate

It's all in how you use it.  I once had a black friend who was on the trading desk making a statement about how everyone liked him.  And my white friend (who's also a friend of the black guy) said loudly "N_gger! " Everyone laughed their heads off.  Imagine that - a white guy calling a black guy N*gger on a trading desk of a large bank and everyone around laughed.  Because it was a joke.  And it was funny.  It's not insulting unless the intent of the word is malicious.  People have to stop taking things so seriously.  This is the kind of stuff that happens in normal sports bars, locker rooms, frat houses.

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

Charles is right in the sense that White America has no  business telling blacks not to use the N-word, but at the same time, blacks shouldn't get upset at non-blacks for using the word in the same context. You can't have it both ways. If you're that offended by it, don't use the word at all. Period.

amarshall54
amarshall54

I'm so sick of all this N-word crap!  Its just another word, and why should it be different than any other racial comment?  And spoken between friends of any colour ... who cares?  Barnes would have said "black guys", but he said "N...."  WHO CARES.  And if any of you do, why?  Between friends like Barkley and Shaq, its a term of endearment ... so what?

Cody4
Cody4

If you use the "N" word you have no right to get offended if someone else does, no matter your color!!

JesseGonzalez
JesseGonzalez

After all this time the stupid labels haven't been erased from public use.  In my opinion a black person should never use the word.  White, black, hispanic, asian are all intelligent people that should be treated with respect.  Drop the labels and start referring to each other in a civilized manner.  He could have easily said I'm tired of defending my teammates.  Should he be fined or suspended?  I say absolutely not because he is a product of the world that we live in.

Nate the Pate
Nate the Pate

When did people get so ridiculously over-sensitized? Not more than 20 years ago, anything goes.  Now, everything gets screened with a filter.  These left-wing PC types are so terrified of offending everyone that you can't use the F word, the N word, even have to change entire teams names like the Bullets, Redskins, etc.  Are you kidding me? Everyone has their own prejudices, like it or not.  We don't need the PC police down our throats every single time someone utters something out of frustration.

ProfessorGriff
ProfessorGriff

NBA has double standards, too!  Kobe Bryant gets fined $100,000 for using the 'F' word, but people are heard using the 'N' word and no repercussions.  No respect for the blacks, but gays get all the respect.

Richard--Ramirez
Richard--Ramirez

Of course he's gonna keep using that word, anything less would be uncivilized.

RevAdamPeek
RevAdamPeek

No mention of Dr. Cornel West's take on this subject matter I see? Rather than looking to ShaqFu and the round mound of rebound for their educated opinions on this topic, why not listen to the debate that Dr. West (anti use of the word and eradication from our vocabulary) and Dr. Michael Eric Dyson (use is acceptable within reason) had? You will come away much more enlightened on the subject matter...I promise.

Here's where you can listen to it: http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=8AapoCaZWIs

RandySandberg
RandySandberg

Thank you Charles.  You are telling the truth.  I wish our President would follow your example.

crashtx1
crashtx1

Barkley is just perpetuating ignorance. Stop using the language, stop making baby mommas out of you women. Man up. That's bravery.

BillPeterson
BillPeterson

Takes a lot of courage to play sports for a mountain of money. What courage. What bravery. 

JoeGunter
JoeGunter

Barkley is like a fresh cool drink of water in the desert of acrid and awkward political correctness.  I'm grateful for people like him.


CLove
CLove

What does playing professional sports have to do with courage?  The narrative here is wrong.  

" This national debate that’s going on right now, it makes me uncomfortable that regular people try to act like they have the courage to play pro sports. They don’t have that. … "

Are you kidding me. Courage, Locker room talk, use of the N word have nothing to do with each other.  The fact that these individuals are able to play the game professionally has more to do with ability than courage.  There is no courage in playing a game for money.  That is one of the greatest slaps in the face of the American public and further proof that most individuals playing professional sports have no idea what real life is like.

RuKdingMe
RuKdingMe

I'm confused.  We hear the "n" word almost every day, very publicly, especially in music, and people like Barkley state that he uses the word with black friends and white friends and plans to continue to use the word.  

So why exactly is Incognito suspended?

JasonKoonce
JasonKoonce

As a black man speaking for my own circle, I used to use the word frequently. I might use it in moments of frustration or aided by adult beverages. Some of my white friends use it around me and I have no problem with it. The basis of it's use among friends is that they understand the intent behind it. 

Mike Harrison, when you use it in public all the time from now on, of all the people who don't understand what you mean some of them may take offense. Some may even attack you. There is no justification to use the word in public. The same way you don't talk to your wife in public the same way you do in private. But you already knew that and are just trolling, right?

Now, some white folks use the word not as a 'term of endearment' but as an insult, and if I get it that way I frankly ignore it. Some other folks (black or white) might knock you upside the head. I also have Native American friends who use the word as well, but might be offended if I call them 'Chief'.

We all know that the living room, your buddy's (or your own) basement, the locker room and private conversations people use vulgar language that might be considered insensitive to many. The point is that it doesn't belong in a public setting because people who do not understand your intent may be offended.

For those of you who want to shout 'Free Speech', indeed it is your American right to speak as you please. Still, why make the world a worse place by angering folks when it is not neccesary? On the other hand, ANYONE who uses the word on twitter deserves the criticism they get because it has no place in public. In your home or private space you can do whatever you please.


GLASC
GLASC

I'm sorry but justifying the use of the n-word is the height of stupidity and ignorance.

bobinpowell
bobinpowell

"... regular people try to act like they have the COURAGE to PLAY pro sports."

OK, Chuck, what's YOUR military record?  That's what I thought.  Didn't have the COURAGE, huh?

mannythegoat
mannythegoat

@jackgorfin Call him that in person. You seem like the type of guy that might hear that clock Chuck was talking about.

-er bad. always bad. is a racial slur that can only be used by black people, and even then is likely to cause trouble. 

-a not bad. not always good. can be either or. used far more commonly, often without a racial connotation. similar in function to the casual use of motherf-er.

Is this really that hard to understand? The confusion of these two completely different words diverts so much attention to language, which is such a small component of the unresolved racial issues still extant in this country. 

amick44
amick44

This tweeting and social media is out of hand. Just seems to provoke/invite controversy unnecessarily.

mannythegoat
mannythegoat

@amarshall54 that's part of the problem. It's not just a pronunciation issue. These are functionally 2 different words. They're used differently, in different contexts, and mean different things. 

mannythegoat
mannythegoat

@doublejtrain68 That's silly. I throw the word motherf_cker around quite casually with my friends. But if someone I don't know calls me a motherf_cker, it's a different conversation. This is just like that. People act like black people are just knocking out every single white person that uses n_igga the same way they do. Again, the problem is that many (white) people don't know the difference between n_gga and n_gger (it's not just one N-word), so when an unfamiliar white person uses n_gga, there's a chance that they mean it racially, which would be a problem. 

Here's a list of general rules that will keep confused non-black people from getting in trouble over these words. 1. if you are around black people you don't know, even if your black friends are with you, don't say n_gga. 2. If you are around black casual acquaintances, don't say n_igga. 3. If you are around black people that consider you their friend, that don't have to worry about whether or not you are a racist, you will probably get away with doing what they do. If they're like Doc Rivers, and they don't use it, then you don't use it. If they use the word like Shaq and Charles, then they aren't likely to have a problem with you using it the same way. 

4. N_gger is different and should almost always be avoided when referring to a person (there are rare exceptions, but you better be really comfortable with that person, and everyone within earshot, or you have a real good chance of hearing that clock up the head Chuck mentioned) Discussion of the word itself is usually tolerated, but that's different than using it.


amarshall54
amarshall54

@JesseGonzalez Barkley is right ... who are you to tell a black person (or white person) that he should never use the word?  Are you a "word cop"?  This is just the way friends talk to one another, and NO harm is done, least of all to you!

amick44
amick44

You hava' point Professor. It is getting old.

amarshall54
amarshall54

@ProfessorGriff Heck, you can watch TV shows in which the "F" word is used, and Bryant gets fined?  Go Figure.

rdbend
rdbend

Chuck can't speak two consecutive sentences of base English grammar.

doublejtrain68
doublejtrain68

@JasonKoonce As a fellow black man, I share your sentiments. Growing up, I had white friends that used the word as a term of endearment and as an insult, and I didn't take it personally because I knew they weren't that way. I would just laugh it off, because true racists don't eat with you, play sports on the same team with you, give you rides home, eat dinner at their house with their families, come to my house for swimming parties and sometimes spend the night at their homes. My white friends and my wife (who is white) make off-color jokes to each other, and nothing is taken too far. I laugh at other blacks who use the word as part of their regular vocabulary, then get offended if a non-black uses it in the same context. It can't be both ways. If they're insulted, stop saying it themselves. 

RuKdingMe
RuKdingMe

@JasonKoonce I agree that the word has no place in public, but popular African-Americans in rap and sports are continuously using the word in public.  And they have large audiences of all race and color.  So it is not unsurprising that over time the word will become more and more mainstream.  

We should either agree to use the word, or not, but the current practice of selectively deciding who can use the word, and under what circumstance, and then penalizing the person who didn't realize he was in the wrong time or place, is very misguided.

jdane
jdane

@GLASC Agreed.  I love Charles, largely because he's not afraid to reveal his own stupidity, which he does on many occasions. 

MichelleDiane
MichelleDiane

@bobinpowell Did you really go there? Well, I did serve - USAF - Vietnam era - Honorable Discharge. Now that you have the pedigree you value, what a punk thing to say. You and I both know what quarters sound like. We know how GIs talk to each other and that Charles made several valid points. And all you can muster in reply is a cowardly swipe? Uh uh uh; bless your heart.

amick44
amick44

Yeah, but you know what he's talking about.

gak01
gak01

@MichelleDiane @bobinpowell I don't think he was referring to pencil pushers in the Air Force, I think he was referring to door kickers that get shoot at on a day to day basis. Not discrediting your service, but females in the USAF during Vietnam were not allowed to do things other troops were doing. If you were a pencil pusher(I was!), it doesn't take courage to go sit on a forward operating base(like I did) and collect checks. If you are an 0311 infantryman, yes you can have a beef with Chucks ignorant comments.

NegotiatorCM
NegotiatorCM

@MichelleDiane @bobinpowell You make a valid point about how some in the military talk. Your argument however gets lost a little with sarcasm and insults. You are obviously intelligent and educated. Let that shine in your comments and leave the rest behind.