The infamous October incident between Matt Barnes and Derek Fisher has hovered over Fisher’s head all season. It was a stain deeply imprinted on Fisher’s reputation around the league, and some opined it was the biggest reason behind his in-season termination. The former Knicks coach never fully addressed the incidents of the night in question with Barnes, hoping to keep the issue a private matter. However, now that he is no longer a coach, Fisher touched on the subject in a personal essay written for Sports Illustrated.
I don’t know what was going through Matt’s mind that day in October when he showed up unannounced at Gloria’s house, and started swinging. I didn’t retaliate. No one who was there did anything but try to get him to calm down, particularly because Matt and Gloria’s children were present. There was no fight.
Fisher also touched on his relationship, or lack thereof, with Barnes during his time with the Lakers. He claimed they had no relationship off the court and that he had nothing to hide from Barnes about his relationship with Barnes’ ex-wife Gloria Govan. Perhaps Fisher’s most poignant point was in reference to the treatment that Govan was subjected to:
First, I was stunned and disappointed by the way Gloria was treated in the media. After the much publicized (and unfortunate) situation went down in Los Angeles last year, story after story was published that portrayed her as a piece of property, instead of the strong, independent woman and mother she is; someone who is capable of making her own decisions. This is a human being we are talking about, not some pawn in a game.
The Fisher-Barnes incident, while entertaining on its surface, has revealed itself to be no laughing matter. Hopefully, Fisher’s earnest essay will be the conclusion to this unfortunate story.