Pat Garofalo, a Republican politician and member of the Minnesota State House of Representatives, came under fire over the weekend after making what was perceived to be a racist tweet about the NBA.
The relatively unknown politician–until now–said that the only noticeable side effect from most NBA teams folding would be an increase in street crime. Since the majority of NBA players are black–according to a 2013 report, 76.3 percent of all NBA players are black–it didn’t take much to put two and two together. After being ridiculed on Twitter for the comment, Garofalo released a statement apologizing.
While many politicians would delete a comment that received such criticism, Garofalo has left it up for the world to see. Check out the representative’s tweet below.
Let's be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime
— Rep. Pat Garofalo (@PatGarofalo) March 9, 2014
Even though Garofalo’s comment received hundreds of “favorites,” the state representative received many tweets slamming him for the statement.
@PatGarofalo the racial and racist undertones in this comment is beyond alarming.
— Ryan Vernosh (@RyanVernosh) March 9, 2014
@PatGarofalo theres no place for that kind of vitriol & racism. apologize and resign.
— B-ball Jenky (@BBallJenky) March 10, 2014
After receiving a lot of negative feedback, Garofalo issued a statement on the Minnesota House of Representatives website and apologized to those he offended.
In the last 24 hours, I’ve had the opportunity to re-learn one of life’s lessons: whenever any of us are offering opinions, it is best to refer to people as individuals as opposed to groups. Last night, I publicly commented on the NBA and I sincerely apologize to those who I unfairly categorized. The NBA has many examples of players and owners who are role models for our communities and for our country. Those individuals did not deserve that criticism and I apologize. In addition, it’s been brought to my attention that I was mistaken and the NBA policy on drug enforcement is stronger than I previously believed. Again, I offer my sincere apologies for my comments.
Garofalo also apologized on Twitter.
To those NBA players and others who are unfairly categorized by my comments, please accept my apologies. http://t.co/xiGaEc47Qo
— Rep. Pat Garofalo (@PatGarofalo) March 10, 2014
Even though Garofalo apologized, the state representative maintains that his comment had nothing to do with race. “I was talking about the NBA’s high arrest rate and that they are the only major pro league that testing positive for marijuana is not a substance abuse violation,” Garofalo said. The politician also said that he had the typical NBA player’s attitude in mind when making the statement.
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