Matt Barnes stood with his back against the wall Friday at the Clippers' practice facility and again apologized to his teammates for his recent comments on Twitter, but said he wasn't remorseful about using a racial epithet.
Barnes was fined $25,000 by the NBA on Thursday for failing to leave the court promptly after being ejected Wednesday night from the Clippers-Oklahoma City game and for using inappropriate language on Twitter following his ejection after his altercation with Thunder forward Serge Ibaka.
During the game, Barnes sent out a tweet that included a racial slur and profanity: "I love my teammates like family, but I'm DONE standing up for these … All this … does is cost me money."
Barnes told the media Friday before practice that his tweet was "bad timing," but said the use of the N-word is commonplace among younger people and in the locker room.
"Obviously the word I used is a word that's used on the court, is used in the locker room, is used by most of my friends and family," Barnes said. "It's a 'regular' word to me. I think my mistake was using it in a social manner, which I regret and I apologized for. You guys [in the media] have to get used to it.…This is a new day and age, and for my generation, that's a very common word."
Barnes, who is 33, said he understands athletes are role models, but insists the racial epithet is widely used by the 20- and 30-something generation, by the hip-hop community, in music and on television.
"And everyone is trying to paint it like a hate crime or something," Barnes said. "It's a word that I guarantee will be used out here on the [practice] court today. It's a word that I've already heard in the locker room this morning. So, it's not as big of a deal as people try to make it. My mistake was using it on social media and the platform that I used it on."
Barnes was asked whether he understood why the racial epithet is bothersome for so many people.
"I think the way it's said [that] makes people cringe," Barnes said. "It's like 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.… It's more slang."
Clippers Coach Doc Rivers said that he and Barnes talked about the ejection and tweet, but Rivers wouldn't reveal their conversation.
Rivers, 52, said he's opposed to the racial epithet Barnes used on Twitter.
"People from my generation and people before my generation even more so, detest the word," Rivers said. "Because when it was used, it wasn't used very nicely."
Rivers to face old friends
When the Clippers play the Brooklyn Nets on Saturday night at Staples Center, Rivers will face two players with whom he won an NBA title in 2008 when they all were with the Boston Celtics.
Paul Pierce and Kevin Garnett were traded by the Celtics after Rivers joined the Clippers over the summer, and Rivers said both players have done some fun trash-talking.
"I try not to think about it because it's going to be strange," Rivers said. "They are very close to me, obviously. I know I would like to beat them because I know they would like to beat me."