Mavs' Howard apologizes for troublesome behavior

DALLAS (AP) - Dallas Mavericks forward Josh Howard took a first step toward repairing his damaged reputation today ---- saying he was sorry for disrespecting the national anthem.

In a statement made on the first day of Mavericks training camp, Howard said he wanted to apologize "for everything that's happened
in the last five months."

Howard also said quote: "I'm sorry to everybody I've offended. I'm upset with myself and the way I've acted."

In a video posted on YouTube, Howard was shown at a charity flag football game. As the national anthem plays in the background, Howard approaches a camera and says: "'The Star Spangled Banner' is going on right now. I don't even celebrate that (expletive). I'm black."

The video prompted blistering criticisms, including some racially charged e-mails that owner Mark Cuban posted on his blog.

In his first public appearance since the video was posted, Howard said quote: "That's not me. ... I went to military school. I have friends that served in the military. I know how it is to wake up and salute the flag. The national anthem every game, I have my hand over my heart."

Howard had another off-court incident during the off-season when he was arrested in July after police said he was drag racing at 94 mph in a 55 mph zone.

(Copyright 2008 by The Associated Press. All Rights Reserved.)