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Chris Copeland apologizes, calls being out late at time of stabbing a ‘bad choice’

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Indiana Pacers forward Chris Copeland reportedly is in stable condition following surgery after sustaining stab wounds to his abdomen and left elbow stemming from an incident outside of New York nightclub 1 Oak early Wednesday morning.

While Copeland is a victim in the incident, he nevertheless decided to issue a statement apologizing for putting himself in such a position, mainly by being out so late, as the stabbing occurred at nearly 4:00 a.m.

“I want to thank all the fans, friends, teammates, coaches and the Pacers organization for their support and prayers during this time. I also want to apologize to everyone, particularly the NBA and the Pacers for my bad choice at being out at that time,” Copeland’s statement, issued by the Pacers, read. “I am doing as well as can be expected and I will work hard to make a full recovery.”

The Pacers were in New York to play the Knicks later Wednesday. Atlanta Hawks players Pero Antic and Thabo Sefolosha, who were in town to play the Brooklyn Nets on Wednesday, were also at the club — although the two reportedly were not involved in the stabbing incident — and were later arrested on obstruction and other charges.

Shevoy Bleary-Murdock, 22, later was charged with felony assault and possession of a criminal weapon, according to NYPD spokesman Sgt. Lee Jones, via a USA TODAY report.

While many issues related to the incident still need to be sorted out — although all reports indicate Copeland was a victim and nothing more — the notion that he should feel compelled to apologize for being out late is questionable at best. So long as he didn’t violate any Pacers policy regarding curfew, he is a grown man, after all, and should be allowed to come and go as he pleases … given his late hours don’t interfere with his ability to show up for the team’s shootaround Wednesday morning and play in the game later that day. And there’s no reason to suspect that wouldn’t have been the case.

Chances are Copeland isn’t the first NBA player to be out in the wee hours while spending a night in New York. The fact that he got stabbed — presumably no fault of his own — doesn’t make it wrong, nor should Copeland feel the need to apologize for it.

[H/T Pro Basketball Talk, image credit: Cem Ozdel/Anadolu Agency/Getty]