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 Thursday, October 12
Iverson apologizes for album's lyrics
 Associated Press

Allen Iverson

PHILADELPHIA -- Allen Iverson apologized Thursday to gays and women who might be offended by the lyrics on his new rap album.

The album by the Philadelphia 76ers star, "Non-Fiction," has been criticized in newspapers, and discussion about it has dominated sports radio shows. Though fellow hip-hop artists and rap-music critics say Iverson's lyrics are typical of the music style, columnists and radio hosts have criticized Iverson's lyrics for giving the team a bad reputation and presenting a poor image for fans.

"If individuals of the gay community and women of the world are offended by any of the material in my upcoming album, let the record show that I wish to extend a profound apology," Iverson said in a statement.

"If a kid thinks that I promote violence by the lyrics of my songs, I beg them not to buy it or listen to it. I want kids to dream and to develop new dreams."

The album is due out in February; an edited version of one rap, "40 Bars," will be released to radio stations Oct. 10. The song is peppered with references to women, blacks and gays and contains the following lyric: "Man enough to pull a gun, be man enough to squeeze it." The song ends with the lyrics played over the sounds of a gun being cocked and fired.

Iverson said the lyrics are drawn from his personal experiences and "my music is the way I express myself."

"I lived in the projects all of my life before the NBA, and I witnessed sex, violence and drugs on a daily basis," the statement said. "It is entertainment, an art form that does not follow the typical rules of the English language."

Until Thursday, Iverson had declined to comment about the lyrics with mainstream media and said only that the album was intended for listeners over age 21.

At training camp in State College on Thursday, 76ers president Pat Croce said the album had nothing to do with Iverson's play on the court.

"I've told you I don't condone the lyrics. I'm not qualified to evaluate the lyrics," Croce said. "I don't know if what John Rocker did was different but in no way am I going to suspend Allen Iverson."


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 Phil Jasner of the Philadelphia Daily News and ESPN radio's Tony Kornheiser on Allen Iverson's rap record.
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