"The stuff is blown up more than it should be, and if he took it wrong, I apologize," said Calipari, who was a guest host on ESPN Radio's Mike & Mike.
Earlier this month on "The Mike Lupica Show," Calipari said, "If it happens on your campus and it happens with your assistants and those people, you probably have a good idea of what's going on."
Calipari's comment was interpreted in the media as being about Pitino, although he didn't specifically mention the NCAA investigation into a sex-for-pay scandal at Louisville that led the school to self-impose a postseason ban in 2015-16. Earlier this week, Pitino said he planned to ask Calipari about the comments when their paths cross this season.
On Thursday, Calipari said his comment "was a general statement."
"The thing I said specifically, about Louisville, if it happened, it's not good [for] any of us and it's not good for college basketball," Calipari said. "I said: 'I don't think their coach knew. I just can't believe that,' and that's what I said. And I haven't changed my opinion of that."
Calipari said the rivalry between Kentucky and Louisville is strong on the court but that he doesn't have time to get into a war of words with Pitino.
"We're 90 miles from each other and we're trying to rip each other's throats out when we play, but other than that, I don't have time," he said. "I've got to coach my guys, he's got to coach his guys. We both got our own things going. I respect him as a coach. He's a Hall of Famer!"
Calipari denies comments were directed at Louisville
Kentucky coach John Calipari joins Mike Greenberg to clear the air on his controversial statements about Louisville coach Rick Pitino. Calipari says his comments were blown up.