Minnesota Lawmaker Defends Racist NBA Tweet
By Brian Bakst
ST. PAUL, Minn. — A Minnesota lawmaker apologized for his tweet about NBA players that some saw as racist, saying he was rightly held accountable for inaccurate stereotyping.
State Rep. Pat Garofalo, a fifth-term Republican from the St. Paul suburb of Farmington, tweeted Sunday night: “Let’s be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime.”
Garofalo initially stuck by his words even after they drew hundreds of negative comments and more than 1,000 retweets, insisting they were misinterpreted.
But in his statement, he said he’d reconsidered.
“I sincerely apologize to those who I unfairly categorized,” said Garofalo, who’s seeking a sixth term in the fall. “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.”
About three-fourths of the NBA’s players are black, according to a 2013 report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.
Garofalo also apologized for remarks about the NBA’s policy on drug enforcement, saying it was stronger than he believed. The NBA is the only pro league in the U.S. that randomly tests players for marijuana four times per year.
Later, he told reporters that he didn’t have a racial motivation for the tweet.