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NBA lost for words after Barnes tweet

Updated: November 15, 2013, 6:34 PM ET
By J.A. Adande | ESPN.com

This is a story about words, which is why the terminology the NBA used in announcing part of its $25,000 fine for Matt Barnes was so revealing in its vagueness: "inappropriate language." Not hateful language, not racially insensitive language, not inflammatory language. Inappropriate. It was both the weakest possible phrase and the strongest indicator that the NBA feels hampered in its ability to police an issue that society is far from resolving: the use of the N-word by African-Americans.

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