New Jersey Nets coach John Calipari apologized on Monday for calling a beat writer a "Mexican idiot," insisting his comments were an ill-advised attempt at humor rather than a racial slur.
Calipari's public apology to Dan Garcia of the Star Ledger of Newark came four days after the rookie coach argued with the writer after a practice at Mahwah, N.J.
"I would like to apologize to Dan Garcia for my ill-advised attempt at humor and insensitivity for the remark," Calipari said in reading a prepared statement about 45 minutes before the Nets' game with the Los Angeles Lakers. "In retrospect, I can understand how the remark could have been misinterpreted."
Calipari refused to answer questions and said he considered the incident closed.
Garcia, a Mexican-American who has covered the team for nine years, was not present when Calipari read the statement.
"If he apologized, that's fine," Garcia said. "He made a mistake. He's apologized to me. Let him go on with the team."
Garcia reported the incident to the NBA. Spokesman Brian McIntyre said the league had not received it and would not comment.
MALONE HONORED: Utah's Karl Malone, who averaged a league-high 31.0 points in four victories last week, was named Player of the Week.
SUNS: Guard Tony Dumas is out for the season after undergoing arthroscopic surgery on his right knee.