Earlier this year, then New York Knicks head coach Derek Fisher was fired by the organization after tallying up a record of 40-96 in one and a half seasons. His firing was justifiable in many eyes considering that they were currently on a losing streak at the time. The team’s lackluster play on the court was not the only factor in his termination, as Fisher was involved in an incident last October with Memphis Grizzles forward Matt Barnes, where the latter drove 95 miles to confront Fisher at the house of his estranged wife.
Today, Fisher formally addressed the situation for the first time in the form of an open letter via The Cauldron.
Look, I get it … salacious gossip sells papers and garners clicks, but when you publish outright lies, I have a right to defend myself. So let’s set the record straight on my personal life — specifically, my relationship with Gloria Govan and how it relates to Matt Barnes…When Gloria and I started dating, she and Matt had already been separated and living apart for more than a year. Same thing for me. My wife and I were long separated; she was in L.A., I was in New York. Matt and Gloria were not trying to work things out, and I certainly wasn’t seeing her behind Matt’s back or in secret. The relationship wasn’t something I was trying to publicize, but it also wasn’t something I was trying to hide, either. There was no reason to. 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. That’s it. There’s nothing more to what happened than that.
The 41-year-old former Lakers PG went on to say that he never notified anyone in the NBA or the media of the Barnes incident, but did take the time out to throw some jabs at the individual who leaked the story.
At the time, I had no intention of saying anything about what happened, and I definitely didn’t wish for the incident to become public knowledge. As far as I was concerned, it was something I was willing to let pass, and as an NBA head coach, I was more than aware that actions off the court might reflect upon many others beyond just me. Then suddenly, the story of a “fight” leaked to the media. I’ll let you speculate on who leaked it and why, and the nature of their character. My reputation speaks for itself.
Of course, this letter caught the attention of Barnes, who offered his own retort via Instagram.