George Karl is finally expressing remorse about the controversial comments he made about Carmelo Anthony and Kenyon Martin ... saying, "I think I said that the wrong way."
Karl came under fire for a passage in his new book that said guys like Melo and Kenyon didn't know how to act like men because they didn't have fathers in their lives growing up.
Kenyon blasted Karl as a coward and terrible person.
We saw the ex-NBA coach in NYC moments ago and asked if he regretted what he wrote. He wouldn't go as far to say, "Yes" ... but he doesn't exactly defend his work either.
Karl also has a message for Carmelo.