-- Paul George's series of tweets Thursday on the Ray Rice domestic violence incident caused an uproar on social media, leading him to delete most of them and ultimately post an apology. The tweets also drew the ire of Indiana Pacers president Larry Bird.
Let me apologize to the women and to the VICTIMS of domestic violence people my intent was not to downplay the situation.. - Paul George (@Yg_Trece) September 11, 2014
George clarified his tweets in a text message to ESPN.com's Mike Wells.
"It's not cool to hit women I KNOW that," George wrote. "And that's not what I'm sayin I would never condone that. I was originally just trying to say if we gone come down hard on Ray Rice come down hard on all crime."
The NBA is looking into the matter, a source briefed on the situation told ESPN.com's Marc Stein.
Bird released a strongly worded statement later in the morning, saying the team spoke to George about his remarks.
"Paul George's tweets from earlier were thoughtless and without regard to the subject of domestic violence and its seriousness in society," Bird's statement read. "We have talked to Paul to strongly express our displeasure and made it clear that the NBA and the Pacers' organization will not condone or tolerate remarks of this nature. Paul understands that he was wrong and why his tweets were so inappropriate and is very apologetic."
George issued another apology through the Pacers.
"I want to apologize to all victims of domestic abuse for my insensitive tweets," he said. "They were obviously without proper understanding of the seriousness of the situation, and I sincerely regret my poor choice of words."
George began the series of tweets with a message, which was not deleted, that police violence needs to be taken as seriously as the Rice case.
Keep it 100 lets act on this police violence like we actin on this Ray Rice case! Stay strong homie ! - Paul George (@Yg_Trece) September 11, 2014
However, he followed with a series of controversial tweets that have since been deleted. Included in those messages were the following:
"I don't condone hittin women or think it's coo BUT if SHE ain't trippin then I ain't trippin.. Lets keep it movin lol let that man play!"
"I get it tho NFL.. You just don't hit women!"
"If you in a relationship and a woman hit you first and attacking YOU.. Then you obviously ain't beatin HER. Homie made A bad choice! #StayUp"
Rice was suspended indefinitely by the NFL and released by the Baltimore Ravens this week after surveillance video inside an Atlantic City, New Jersey, hotel elevator showed him punching and knocking out his now-wife, Janay.
TMZ Sports posted the video online Monday, and NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said that was the first time anyone with the league saw the video, although a law enforcement source told The Associated Press that the videotape was sent to the NFL offices in April and its receipt was acknowledged through a phone call.
The NFL says former FBI director Robert S. Mueller III will conduct an inquiry into how the league handled evidence as it investigated domestic violence claims against Rice.
George, a two-time All-Star, is sidelined as a result of a gruesome leg injury he suffered in a Team USA scrimmage. The Pacers have said while doctors won't rule out a late-season return, they have no plans to rush him back.