Al Campanis, saying he is trying to rebuild his image among blacks, has reiterated that he did not mean what he said in an April television interview that cost him his job as a Los Angeles Dodgers executive.

Campanis admitted he made a mistake on the ABC program "Nightline," during which he said blacks lacked "some of the necessities" to become managers or general managers in baseball. But he said those comments, which forced him to resign the following day, were in effect misconstrued.

In an interview with Jim Murray published Thursday in the Los Angeles Times, Campanis said, "I screwed up. I got confused. I buried myself. I found myself saying things I didn't mean, explaining things I couldn't. You can understand in that environment where you can hit on a word that does not express exactly what you mean."

Following his remarks, a protest led by black political leaders and players ensued, criticizing not only Campanis' remarks but the lack of minorities in managerial and front-office jobs. Campanis apologized but was forced to resign by Dodgers President Peter O'Malley the following day.

"I want to explain to black people and white people alike that I'm not that kind of guy," Campanis told Murray. "I would like to show people that the Al Campanis who's the butt of comedians' jokes and locker room stories is a stereotype.

"When I said that blacks lacked the necessities to be managers and general managers, I meant the necessary experience, not things like inherent intelligence or native ability.

"You have to look at the years you have to have in baseball to be a successful general manager, the situations you have to experience, the contacts you have to make, the mistakes you have to live by.

"Look at me. I managed four years in the minors and the Caribbean. I was a scout for 10 years. I was scouting director for 10 years and then general manager and vice president for 19. That's what I meant. You can't walk in off the street and deal with some of the shrewd characters. You can't build a champion team 'till you are at a level where you can sit down with crafty, experienced men."

Murray said yesterday, "Al was sincere, as far as I know. That's a very subjective thing. I hadn't seen Al since the incident, and I saw him at a Cedar Sinai banquet the other night. I said 'Al, anytime you want to talk . . . ' "

Campanis appeared on a radio show earlier this week, Murray said, and then contacted him.

As a partial result of Campanis' statements, major league baseball hired Dr. Harry Edwards, a noted sports sociologist, as a special consultant to establish a job bank of blacks, Hispanics and women for front-office positions.

Hank Aaron, Atlanta Braves director of player development, is the major league's only black in a top-level management position.

Campanis said members of his family have become targets of abuse, including his grandson, a catcher on the University of Southern California baseball team.

"The kids in the stands were yelling, 'How come your grandfather is a bigot? Are you, too?,' " Campanis said.

"I would like to rebuild my image. I have been hurt by this. I not only lost my job after 46 years, I lost my image. Fortunately, not everyone deserts you. My friends know the picture is not a true one. I lost my job, but I didn't lose my friends."

"I think that {Commissioner Peter} Ueberroth has made baseball recognize that it has an obligation to hire black managers," Murray said. "He's taking Harry Edwards on, and that's a bold move. But baseball is a general manager's medium. Movies are a director's medium. Football is a coach's medium.

"The general manager has to put that team together. In order to qualify for that job, you have to be around baseball and its machinations."

Last week, a threatened boycott was called off after Jesse Jackson announced he was satisfied with baseball's direction toward affirmative action hirings. The boycott was scheduled for Saturday.