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Pippen issues apology for racial remarks

CHICAGO, March 2 -- Chicago Bulls all-star forward Scottie Pippen issued an apology Tuesday for racially tinged remarks he made after a loss Monday to the Cleveland Cavaliers.

'I pretty much apologize for (the remarks), to some extent,' Pippen said after the team had issued a strongly worded statement signed by the player.

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'I feel bad for saying it, but you can never take back the things you've said.'

Pippen told a Chicago radio station after Monday's game that the boo- birds who have recently come into prominence at Chicago Stadium don't boo white players like they do black players.

Pippen was booed that night, but not Toni Kukoc, a European star player from Croatia who went 0-for-9 from the field in Chicago's 89-81 loss to Cleveland. Pippen made an obscene gesture at the crowd before coming off the floor.

'I thought about it last night when I was home and throughout the night,' Pippen said. 'It was something I thought about and I knew I had to deal with...I'm sorry I made the gesture.'

Earlier Tuesday, Bulls general manager Jerry Krause issued a statement, reportedly signed reluctantly by Pippen, in which the player said he did not mean to imply that race played a part in the incident.

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'(The boo-birds) booed all the Bulls players,' the statement said. 'In past years, they have booed players of both races.'

The team-issued statement also had Pippen apologizing for remarks he made about Krause. Pippen had criticized the general manager a month ago for not making more moves to help the Bulls win, and repeated those assertions Monday.

(Edited by Martin Lader in New York)

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