Was it the public outcry that got to him, or Reebok's decision to drop him as a pitchman? In either case, rapper-mogul Rick Ross has issued an apology for lyrics contained in his guest appearance with rapper Rocko on the track "U.O.E.N.O" that seemed to condone date rape.

Here's the statement Ross released Friday morning:

“Before I am an artist, I am a father, a son, and a brother to some of the most cherished women in the world. So for me to suggest in any way that harm and violation be brought to a woman is one of my biggest mistakes and regrets. As an artist, one of the most liberating things is being able to paint pictures with my words. But with that comes a great responsibility. And most recently, my choice of words was not only offensive, it does not reflect my true heart.

"And for this, I apologize. To every woman that has felt the sting of abuse, I apologize. I recognize that as an artist I have a voice and with that, the power of influence. To the young men who listen to my music, please know that using a substance to rob a woman of her right to make a choice is not only a crime, it's wrong and I do not encourage it. To my fans, I also apologize if I have disappointed you. I can only hope that this sparks a healthy dialogue and that I can contribute to it."

He signed it "William Roberts (a.k.a. 'Rick Ross')."

The lyrics that gave offense are: "Put Molly all in her Champagne/ She ain't even know it/ I took her home and I enjoyed that/ She ain't even know it."

Molly is slang for a substance found in Ecstasy that reduces inhibitions.

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