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Knicks' Marcus Morris apologizes, says his comments were 'unnecessary'

Marcus Morris, foreground, waits for the referees to

Marcus Morris, foreground, waits for the referees to sort out the fouls after a fourth-quarter shoving match with Memphis' Jae Crowder on Jan. 29, 2020, at Madison Square Garden.   Credit: Getty Images/Elsa

GREENBURGH, N.Y. — Knicks forward Marcus Morris apologized on Friday for derogatory comments he made about women and Memphis forward Jae Crowder on Wednesday night.

Morris was fined $35,000 by the NBA for his role in a last-minute brawl between the Knicks and Grizzlies and his comments afterward, which drew the ire of many, including some WNBA players.

After the game, Morris said Crowder has “a lot of female tendencies on the court,” added that “it’s a man’s game” and referred to Crowder’s behavior as “very womanlike.”

An hour after making the comments, Morris apologized on Twitter. He later posted that his mother texted him to say she loved him.

On Thursday, the league handed down its ruling and the Knicks issued a statement that, in part, called Morris’ comments “offensive and unacceptable.”

In his first opportunity to speak publicly since Wednesday, Morris on Friday delivered an improvised statement to the media after practice, but did not take questions.

"First, let me start off just apologizing deeply,” he said. “My comments were unnecessary. I wasn’t even thinking when I was talking. We have women referees, women coaches. I’m a big, huge supporter of the WNBA. I have relationships with a few female players in the WNBA. If I offended any of them, I deeply, deeply apologize. I had time to sit and reflect on my words and it was just unprofessional of me to even refer to any of that in any types of downgrading or even feel that I can mention a woman’s name or anything about women referring to the game of basketball that they put their heart into and coaching, just life in general. I’m deeply sorry and I deeply apologize.”

Knicks point guard Elfrid Payton received a one-game suspension for shoving Crowder after the Grizzlies forward stole an inbounds pass and attempted a three-pointer with the Knicks trailing by 18 points and less than a minute left.

Payton will miss Saturday's game at Indiana, meaning Dennis Smith Jr. is the only healthy point guard on the roster. Frank Ntilikina, who missed Wednesday’s game with a groin injury, said he was hopeful he can play. The Knicks are listing him as probable.

Interim coach Mike Miller said the Knicks could use two-way player Kadeem Allen against the Pacers if needed.

Even though injured, Barrett rising

Rookie RJ Barrett was named to the world team for the Rising Stars game on Friday, Feb. 14, as part of All-Star weekend. Barrett, who is Canadian, has missed the last seven games with an ankle sprain. Miller said Barrett could be ready to practice next week. “He's doing some workouts on his own,” Miller said. “So the progression would be we get to the point where hopefully he could practice next week, maybe, and then that would put him on track where potentially he would be ready to play after he gets some practices. So he's on a path where that looks promising.” Barrett was not made available to discuss his selection to the world team or his injury.

New York Sports