Sunday, May 15, 2011

ESPN’s Matthew Barnaby arrested after domestic incident

(UPDATE: The Buffalo News reports that Barnaby pleaded not guilty this morning to five charges, including one felony for criminal mischief.)

Matthew Barnaby, the former Buffalo Sabres enforcer turned ESPN analyst, as been arrested on several charges Friday night, according to WIVB-TV in Buffalo:

Amherst Police responded to a location at 6:15 p.m. and found serious damage to property. The location is being kept private to protect two female victims, who police say were not injured.

The former right winger was arrested and charged with second degree criminal contempt, harassment, second degree criminal trespass, and second degree criminal mischief. Police say after leaving the location, he made angry phone calls, and Barnaby has also been charged with aggravated harassment via a cell phone.

The station reports that Barnaby, who played in the NHL from 1993-2007, will spend Friday night in jail and be arraigned Saturday morning in Amherst Town Court in New York State.

Barnaby, 38, has worked at ESPN since 2008, when he was hired as Barry Melrose's replacement when Melrose left to coach the Tampa Bay Lightning. He's a popular NHL voice on Twitter as well … although as Larry Brown Sports points out, the Internet can yield some awkward comments given Friday's nights activities.

There are the personal issues here and then there are the professional ones: Will ESPN have Barnaby on the Stanley Cup Playoffs the rest of the way?

Richard Deitsch of Sports Illustrated passed along an ESPN PR statement on Friday night: "We just learned of it so it would be inappropriate to comment."

He's been an active voice on the Eastern Conference final, doing extensive video work. But please recall Jay Mariotti being kept off ESPN's "Around The Horn" after his August 2010 arrest on suspicion of domestic assault. Not hard to imagine the same precautions being taken here.

UPDATE: It's worth noting, as David Arnott tell us to behoove, that Barnaby was romantically linked to ESPN anchor/reporter Michelle Beadle as late as March.

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