NBA: Matt Barnes’ fine for language toward fan, not Suns owner

Clippers forward Matt Barnes begs to differ.

Chris Humphreys/Chris Humphreys-USA TODAY Sports


An NBA spokesman on Wednesday said Matt Barnes’ $25,000 fine was for inappropriate language directed toward a fan, not Phoenix Suns owner Robert Sarver, as the Clippers forward alleged.

Barnes was penalized Tuesday by the league for an incident it says occurred with 4:28 remaining in the second quarter of the Clippers’ 120-100 victory in Phoenix on Sunday.

He later wrote on Twitter that he was talking to Sarver, whom he said was sitting on the baseline and had cursed at him first.

Barnes did not back down upon the NBA’s statement Wednesday. He provided more detail after the Clippers’ shootaround for a road game vs. the Utah Jazz.

"As players we’re obviously held to a higher standard," he told ESPNLA. "I’ve had to watch myself on that, but I think if we’re held to high standards, owners should be held to even higher standards.

"When an elder says something derogatory toward me and I respond, I thought it would stay there. It’s one grown man saying something to another grown man. I’m not going to run and tell, but the fact that he or someone around him told … it’s crazy."

Barnes acknowledged to ESPNLA that he had interaction with other fans near the Clippers’ bench.

"I was talking to a 13-year-old boy and his dad," Barnes said. "We were kind of going back and forth and there were two guys behind them that were heckling me the whole game. I was laughing and messing with them. I had a bad game shooting and they were just on me.

"I said something to the little boy because someone said you were fined $25,000, and I was like, ‘That was a lot of money, huh?’ And he looked at me and smiled. Then the owner said what he said, and I responded. You can ask him what he said. He said enough to make me respond. We don’t like each other. He didn’t like me when I was there and I didn’t like him when I was there, so it is what it is."

Barnes was also fined $25,000 in December for kicking a water bottle into the stands and directing profane language at fans.