The rift between former close friends and Los Angeles Lakers teammates Matt Barnes and Derek Fisher does not offer any reprieve any time soon. The latest development in the love triangle that had both NBA stars in the spotlight fails to offer promising possibilities for a reconciliation. If anything, the issue seems to be gaining more steam as even the National Basketball Players Association (NBPA) now got themselves involved.
Barnes found himself at the receiving end of a $35,000 fine following the series of comments he uttered against Fisher. The Memphis Grizzlies star once again became the subject of headlines after he allegedly promoted violence as a means of fighting for one's rights. These comments eventually reached the NBA, which then meted out the sum as his penalty for the "inappropriate" pronouncements.
"Matt Barnes' comments condoning violence do not reflect who we are as a league or the character of our players," announced Kiki VanDeWeghe, the executive vice president of basketball operations of the NBA, according to ESPN. The exec added, "His words are unacceptable and entirely inconsistent with the core principles of this game and the NBA."
However, Barnes has received immense support from the sports community - with the issue even extending to other leagues like the NFL. The NBPA filed a grievance report on behalf of the former Los Angeles Lakers star to recoup his lost earnings following the incidents. However, Barnes felt disheartened by the NBA's actions and believed that he will no longer be able to get back his losses.
"There's support throughout the league, other leagues, GMs, owners, entertainers, actors, everybody," disclosed Barnes, referring to the assistance he received from concerned friend and colleagues. He added, "It's been a great support. Every man who looks at the situation knows what's right and wrong."
The comment which got Barnes in trouble was his seemingly positive stance on violence. He said of his altercation with Fisher, "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. The NBA decided to step in and did what they did. But it is what it is."
In a separate ESPN report, he shared, "I appreciate the support I've got from not only my peers throughout the NBA but NFL & from the entertainment world. It means a lot that the NBAPA has filed an appeal on my behalf, but I won't hold my breath. I've never had so much as a tech rescinded, I highly doubt I'll be reimbursed a dime of that suspension money!"
Prior to this penalty, Barnes had been known to call Fisher a "snake and a "snitch." The two stars saw each other again during the match-up between the Memphis Grizzlies and the New York Knicks. The Carmelo Anthony squad lost the game 103-95. Although Fisher remains mum throughout the drama with Barnes, fans of the Kristaps Porzingis team are voicing out their frustrations over his coaching style. Some followers feel that the New York Knicks head coach continues to fail in maximizing the talents in the roster. Meanwhile, other fans believe that a revamp of the staff might be in order.