Charles Barkley, Shaquille O'Neal defend Matt Barnes' use of n-word

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Former NBA player and current analyst Charles Barkley came to the defense of Clippers forward Matt Barnes for his use of the n-word in a tweet after being ejected from a game last week.

Barnes was ejected from Thursday night’s game for shoving the Thunder’s Serge Ibaka in the chest.  Barnes was coming to the defense of his teammate Blake Griffin after he got into a rebounding tussle with Ibaka.

Following his ejection from the game, Barnes took to his Twitter account while the game was still being played to tweet: “I love my teammates like family, but I’m DONE standing up for these ni**as! All this sh*t does is cost me money. …”

The tweet was later deleted, and the Clipper was fined $25,000 for “failing to leave the court in a timely manner upon his ejection and using inappropriate language on his Twitter account during the game following his ejection,” announced the league.

On Friday, Barnes apologized for his use of the racial slur but told reporters that he will continue to use it.

“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. “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.”

Former NBA star Charles Barkley joined Inside The NBA to voice his opinion on the incident.

“Matt Barnes, there is no apology needed,” Barkley said. “I’m a black man. I use the n-word. I’m going to continue to use the n-word with my black friends, with my white friends.”

Barkley acknowledged that Barnes should not have said the n-word publicly, but took aim at white media for blowing it up.

“White people, white reporters…they don’t have the courage to go into the locker room,” Barkley said. “That’s why they’re reporters.”

The basketball analyst said that, while it should never leave the locker room, language used between players is sometimes “homophobic, sometimes it’s sexist, and a lot of times it’s racist. We do that when we’re joking with our teammates, and it’s nothing personal.”

“White America don’t get to dictate how me and Shaq talk to each other, and they have been trying to infiltrate themselves saying, ‘Well you guys us it. Is it alright if I use it?’ No, no, no that’s not the same,” Barkley said.

Shaquille O’Neal also weighed in at the end of the segment to offer his opinion, saying that he feels Barnes’ use of the n-word had no negative connotation to it.

Watch the Inside The NBA at the top and let us know if you agree or disagree with Barkley’s opinion in the comments.

Follow Carrie Healey on Twitter @CarrieHeals