The Reds striker has been frequently criticised by opposition fans and managers alike for his supposed theatrics on the football pitch.
However, ESPN analyst Barnes believes that the controversial Uruguayan is only looking to "gain an advantage".
"The diving tag is unfair on him. He is no different to anyone else in world football who plays up front," he said.
"He twists and turns at ridiculous angles and he very often falls over.
"I don't see diving. Sometimes you look to gain an advantage. This is the way modern football is. It changed when the modern laws came in to protect the player. That has allowed players to look for an advantage."
John Barnes was speaking ahead of ESPN's live and exclusive coverage of Man United v Spurs at 4.30pm on Saturday. Visit espn.co.uk/tv for details.