This past Saturday, Memphis Grizzlies forward Matt Barnes reportedly drove nearly a hundred miles from Santa Barbara to the Los Angeles home of his estranged wife Gloria Govan—whom he was arrested on suspicion of abusing in 2010—to harass and physically attack New York Knicks coach Derek Fisher for being there. There’s not really much about this that makes you want to laugh your head off, but it looks like a lot of people are managing.
Our sports culture is pretty slow on the uptake. Not quite 19 months after Ray Rice knocked his fiancée unconscious in an Atlantic City casino elevator and spawned a million earnest thinkpieces about America’s shamefully late-dawning awareness of domestic violence and misogyny in sports, a pro athlete enters the home of the woman he’s been accused of abusing to attack her current boyfriend for violating his territorial rights, and, well.
Here’s ESPN writer/USC adjunct Arash Markazi:
Yeah, invading the home of the woman on whose body he once left “visible injuries” to attack another man for dating her is almost as zany as the time he lied about dating Rihanna! What a knucklehead. SMH.
Here’s Grantland’s Jason Concepcion, a fun and thoughtful writer we all like very much:
“TFW a real live woman’s unhinged stalker ex believes he’s still entitled to total control of her private life more than a year after their separation and will storm into her home uninvited to enforce it.” Which Game of Thrones character is most like Matt Barnes, do you think?
Here’s BuzzFeed’s sports reporter, Lindsey Adler:
I wonder if Gloria Govan was crying too!!! From the hilarity of it!!! I bet she was all, LOL I have to live in fear that my ex will violently assert his dominion over me forever, FML.
Here’s the account of Awful Announcing, a sports-media blog or some shit:
“Better.” Because it’s already such a good story, you see.
Here’s an easy job. See if you can spot Matt Barnes’s notion of who exactly owns Gloria Govan’s life hiding in these tweets, one from CBS’s Matt Moore and two from the Wall Street Journal’s Chris Herring, a genuine favorite around these parts:
Derek Fisher should have known better than to tread on another man’s turf; dating a woman with whom you share an attraction is a bad move because her ex might disapprove; missing a meaningless practice in the aftermath of being confronted in your girlfriend’s home by her enraged, entitled stalker ex is unprofessional. These are takes that mainstream sportswriters—good sportswriters, smart ones—are putting out there in the Year of Our Lord 2015. All of them are rooted in the idea that Gloria Govan is in some way still Matt Barnes’s domain, that Derek Fisher was breaching protocol by not considering Matt Barnes’s territorial rights. This is fucking deranged.
Here are some plain and obvious truths. Derek Fisher did not do anything wrong by dating Gloria Govan, a grown woman who by all accounts wanted to date him and happens not to have technically extricated herself from a bad marriage that functionally ended over a year ago. Derek Fisher and Matt Barnes are not romantic rivals. Going by the reports, the aggression was not mutual; Derek Fisher went to his girlfriend’s house for the purpose of a peaceful get-together, Matt Barnes invaded the home of his ex for the purpose of doing harm. Neither Gloria Govan’s nor Derek Fisher’s romantic lives are any of Matt Barnes’s damn business. Matt Barnes appears to be a fucking psycho. Sportswriters are lost on all of this shit.
When an accused domestic abuser shows up uninvited at a family party to—as a source put it to the New York Post—“beat the shit” out of someone for the offense of dating his ex, that is not a wacky character up to zany shenanigans. It is not reality TV melodrama or a cartoon or celebrities being silly. It is the behavior of a dangerous misogynist lunatic. It is an act of violent aggression. It is a man forcefully asserting personal property rights over a woman’s home, body, and life. It differs from what Ray Rice did in that elevator by degree, not by kind, and not by all that much. It is not fucking funny.
Photo via AP