INDIANAPOLIS -- NBA star Paul George defended Ray Rice on Twitter, then backtracked less than an hour later by deleting the posts and apologizing to women and victims of domestic violence.
The Indiana Pacers player said Thursday that Rice should be allowed to play in the NFL. He wrote: If "a woman hit you first and attacking YOU.. Then you obviously ain't beatin HER."
George later deleted those posts and wrote a new one that read in part: "My intent was not to downplay the situation."
Rice was released by the Baltimore Ravens on Monday and suspended indefinitely by the NFL after an elevator video showed Rice knocking out his then-fiancee with a punch to the face. The two are now married.
[RELATED: NFL looking into handling of Rice case]
Statement from Paul George:
"I want to apologize to all victims of domestic abuse for my insensitive tweets. They were obviously without proper understanding of the seriousness of the situation and I sincerely regret my poor choice of words."
Statement from Pacers President of Basketball Operations Larry Bird:
"Paul George's tweets from earlier were thoughtless and without regard to the subject of domestic violence and its seriousness in society. 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."