December 5, 2016, 7:16 am
Matt Barnes allegedly choked a woman in a New York nightclub early Monday morning and is wanted by the NYPD for questioning.
The report states that a man (presumably Barnes) assaulted two women and one man; he choked the first women and punched the other two parties when they tried to intervene. TMZ Sports has the story along with video showing Barnes and teammate DeMarcus Cousins outside of the club.
If Barnes is the man in the report, he’s in for some trouble. Barnes was arrested for domestic violence in 2011, and while the charges were dropped his reputation certainly doesn’t help his case in this new incident. Considering the NBA’s involvement with Lean In, as well as general human decency, the league probably won’t hesitate to drop the hammer on Barnes if he’s guilty on this one.
The presence of Cousins is an interesting wrinkle. To be clear, nobody knows as of yet whether Cousins was involved in the altercation but it’s not a good look for the mercurial star. The big knock on Cousins has always been his behavior and this won’t do him any favors. He’s the only other King clearly visible in the video and definitely mentions some kind of fight happening inside the club.
The NYPD will be investigating the incident and is looking for Barnes for questioning. The team and players involved haven’t issued any statements yet but we’ll update you as information comes along.
UPDATE, 11:54 AM EST: Barnes has released a statement (again grabbed by TMZ), saying that he was defending himself in the club after a group in the VIP section became violent. Barnes claims he’s the victim in this incident and is taking pictures of his injuries as evidence.
This is the expected turn in the case though Barnes’ account of the evening does seem to indicate that Cousins jumped in to help defend his teammate, i.e. he was part of the fracas. Cousins’ role as either a participant or bystander has yet to be fully determined and we’ll see how the Kings handle everything.
As usual, we’ll share more news when we get it.
UPDATE II, 10:30 a.m. ET: There has been some confusion over whether or not Cousins said ‘I’ or ‘Matt’ hit somebody. We slowed the audio down and it sounds like Matt, but we’re not 100 percent sure. Audio courtesy of TMZ and uses explicit language.
Isolated just the word:
Later on some more talking. It sounds like Cousins re-describes the incident and somebody else yells ‘haymaker.’