Matt Barnes was a player on the Clippers when the Donald Sterling tapes came up. A recording of Sterling ripping his mistress about posting Instagram photos with minorities shocked the general public, but for a lot of people who had to deal with him, it was no surprise.
Donald Sterling had a history of similar episodes and a lot of those involved his players. A recurring one was Sterling bringing his entourage to the locker room and literally touching players that just came out of the shower, admiring their muscles and inviting his guests to touch them.
Matt Barnes was on the Clippers and was familiar with all the “horror stories” surrounding the former Clippers owner. But his reaction and the team’s reaction was that the recording was “not surprising.” Barnes talked about it on The Jump and was asked how can he be so calm about something like that. He then shared the experiences he had at a younger age that made him see the world for what it is (via The Jump):
There were some racial slurs thrown at my sister one day my senior year in high school. A kid spit on her and called her the n-word. I found the kid and doing what the big brother does. I got suspended for like a week, and then mid-week my high school was vandalized by the KKK; burned down a bathroom. Hung nooses, “die Barnes” and n-word everywhere.
Barnes explained hearing Sterling speak in that language wasn’t new or surprising to him – he was obviously through much worse. He did say one scary thing:
To me he’s not the only owner who thinks that way, he was the only one dumb enough to get caught on audio, talking like that.
Barnes and the rest of the NBA agreed that Adam Silver reacted swiftly and decisively. So if Barnes turns out to be right, at least we know there is no tolerance for that in the Silver NBA.