The New York City Police Department wants to question Sacramento Kings forward Matt Barnes about an allegation of assault at a nightclub early Monday morning, according to multiple media reports.
TMZ, the first to report on the issue, said Barnes has been accused of choking a woman inside the Manhattan club and assaulting two other people — a man and a woman — when they tried to intervene. USA Today reported that an unnamed source said investigators had footage that appeared to show Barnes was the assailant.
But a Barnes representative told TMZ that the player accidentally “butt bumped” a woman, who reacted by slapping him. Then, the representative said, members of the woman’s party, including several men, knocked Barnes to the ground, with one of them choking him. Barnes got physical to protect himself, TMZ said, and is taking pictures of his injures to help prove his innocence.
“We do not believe a crime was committed and are hopeful no charges will be pressed,” Alex Spiro, an attorney for Barnes, told TMZ.
Barnes was no longer at the scene when police arrived, according to TMZ.
The Kings issued a statement on Monday: “"We have clear standards of conduct and behavior expected of the entire Kings organization – on and off the court. We are working with all parties involved to gather information in order to take any appropriate next steps.”
The Kings lost to the Knicks at Madison Square Garden on Sunday night, 106-98. Barnes had two points, an assist and three rebounds.
The 14-year NBA veteran spent two seasons with the Lakers and three with the Clippers.
Dec. 5, 10:15 a.m.: This article has been updated with comments from a Barnes representative and a quote from attorney Alex Spiro.
Dec. 6, 9:45 a.m.: This article has been updated with a statement from the Kings.
This article was originally published Dec. 5 at 9:25 a.m.