I don’t like Matt Barnes. I should. He’s from Sacramento, he’s multiracial, his name’s Matt, and he’s played for the Kings and Warriors. But aside from my sophomore year in high school when we literally rooted for him against our own varsity team in our own gym, I’ve never really cheered for him. Simply put, I’m not a fan.
When I saw the news this morning that Barnes was arrested last night for domestic violence, my gut reaction was “not surprising.” However, after reading some other gut reactions from others online, I had to put assumptions aside and give him the benefit of the doubt. Sure, he’s 6’7″ with a crazy haircut, lots of tattoos and half-black, but that doesn’t automatically make him a wife-beater. Like he tweeted, “9 times out of 10 the man gets arrested.” Ask any police officer, they’ll openly tell you. If the woman has a single mark, whether it be a bloody knuckle from punching the guy or a scraped leg from tripping over the futon while chasing him with a knife (these are both real life examples I’ve heard of), the man is going to jail. Many people scoffed at his text saying he was the victim. They said “sure, a 6’7″ guy was the victim.” Well, being the victim doesn’t mean he lost a fight, it just means he was the one who was attacked. It’s amazing how in the land of ‘guilty until proven innocent,’ domestic violence crimes don’t apply. Matt Barnes will forever be considered a wife beater, while Ben Roethlisberger and Kobe Bryant have never really been considered rapists. You tell me which is worse.
So ultimately, I don’t know if Matt Barnes is innocent here, but let’s put snap judgments aside. He may be a loose cannon on the basketball court, but it doesn’t mean he would put his hands on a woman. If there’s one thing people close to him will vouch for, it’s that he was very close to his mother, who passed away a few years back. I’ve got to believe he was raised better. That’s not to say I’ll be surprised if it turns out he beat the hell out of this girl, but until that day, I think the guy deserves a break. I think we’re more likely to see the charges dropped, and he’ll be riding around Sac in an Indy Car rather than posting up at 651 I Street.