Clippers forward Matt Barnes defended his use of the “N-word,” saying people should “get used to it” and mentioning that his wife and family use it because it is like saying “bro” if there is an “-a” at the end of the word.
“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 on Friday. “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.”
After getting ejected in Wednesday’s game against the Thunder, Barnes sent out a tweet he has since deleted in which he said he was “DONE” sticking up for his teammates and used the “N-word”: “I love my teammates like family, but I’m DONE standing up for these n—as! All this s— does is cost me money. …”
“I think the way it’s said makes people cringe,” Barnes said. “I think if you put an -er at the end, that makes people cringe, but if there’s an -a at the end, that’s like people saying ‘bro.’ That’s just how we address people now. That’s how we address our friends. That’s how we talk. That’s how my wife talks. That’s how my family talks. People talk that way now. I think if you put the -er on it, it’s offensive, and if you have an -a on it, it’s more slang.”
He then continued to defend the use of the word in popular culture and in sports.
“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 said. “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.”