Rose: Controversial photo a mistake

Updated: June 12, 2009, 2:19 PM ET
ESPNChicago.com

Derrick Rose
hardwoodparoxysm.comDerrick Rose said the undated photo was taken while he attended a party in Memphis.
Chicago Bulls guard Derrick Rose issued a statement regarding a photo that features him apparently flashing a gang sign.

"Recently, a photo has been circulating on the Internet which appears to depict me flashing a gang sign," Rose said in the statement. "This photo of me was taken at a party I attended in Memphis while I was in school there, and was meant as a joke ... a bad one, I now admit. I want to emphatically state, now and forever, that Derrick Rose is anti-gang, anti-drug, and anti-violence. I am not, nor have I ever been, affiliated with any gang and I can't speak loudly enough against gang violence, and the things that gangs represent.

"In posing for this picture, I am guilty of being young, naive and of using extremely poor judgment. I sincerely apologize to all my fans for my mistake. I pride myself on being a good citizen, and role model, that young people can look up to and I want to urge all my young fans to stay away from gangs and gang-related activities."

Rose, 20, grew up in the Englewood neighborhood on the South Side of Chicago. He attended Simeon Career Academy, which he led to back-to-back state titles.

Rose, the overall No. 1 pick in the 2008 NBA draft who led the Bulls to the playoffs, was already under a cloud cast by an NCAA investigation of major violations at Memphis during the only season he played there.

In a letter to Memphis, the NCAA said an unknown person took the SAT for a player -- with his knowledge -- and that the player used it to get admitted. The governing body says the athlete played for the Tigers only in the 2007-08 season and the 2008 NCAA tournament. Only one person fits that description -- Rose.

While the allegations swirled, Rose has kept quiet.

The only word out of his camp has been a statement by attorney Daniel E. Reidy, who said Rose cooperated in an investigation by Memphis that uncovered "no wrongdoing on his part."

The Associated Press contributed to this report.