- Rich Cimini, ESPN Staff Writer
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One day after apologizing via Twitter for his controversial tweet on the George Zimmerman not-guilty verdict, New York Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz took the national stage Monday to issue another mea culpa.
Cruz, a guest on ESPN Radio's "Mike and Mike" show, said he was "wrong" for criticizing the outcome of the trial with a tweet that could be perceived as pro-violence. On Saturday night, he tweeted, "Thoroughly confused. Zimmerman doesn't last a year before the hood catches up to him." He quickly deleted it.
"I took it back because I understand how things can be taken," Cruz said on the radio. "There are a lot of children that follow me, a lot of kids that follow me, and I don't want them to think I'm trying to incite violence on anyone. That's not what I'm here for. That's not what my intent was -- or is -- at all."
Cruz mentioned his upbringing in Paterson, N.J., where there was "violence happening all around me when I grew up -- and I don't want to incite any of that."
The popular receiver, who recently signed a five-year, $43 million contract extension, said his immediate reaction was based on paternal instinct, how he'd feel as a father if he lost a teenaged son. Zimmerman was found not guilty of second-degree murder and manslaughter by a Florida jury in the death of teenage Trayvon Martin. Cruz said he quickly realized his tweet was inappropriate.
"It was wrong," he said. "I'm human and things happen and I own up to it."
Cruz was one of many professional athletes who tweeted about the verdict. Atlanta Falcons receiver Roddy White also tweeted an apology on Sunday for a tweet he made after the verdict where he wrote the jurors on the case should "go home and kill themselves."
I understand my tweet last nite was extreme. I never meant for the people to do that. I was shocked and upset about the verdict. I am sorry.
— Roddy White (@roddywhiteTV) July 14, 2013
Cruz on Monday said he learned a hard lesson about the power of Twitter.
"You have to understand, when you're in a position where kids can look up to you, and you're a role model to these kids, you really have to watch what you say," he said.
If he had to do it again, Cruz said he would have used his Twitter account as a forum to encourage a discussion among his followers on the controversial outcome to the trial.
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