Minnesota state representative Pat Garofalo got himself into hot water on Sunday evening when he sent a tweet about NBA players that many have perceived to be racist. Here’s what he wrote.
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
As we know, the NBA is predominantly made up of African-American players. Twitter users from across the country accused Garofalo of being racist and implying that black people would be getting into trouble with the law if they couldn’t play basketball. Others reminded Garofalo that there could be more criminals in the political world than there are in the NBA.
Deadspin’s Tim Marchman emailed Garofalo for comment, and the state Rep. said the tweet had no racial intent. Instead, he was referencing the NBA’s high crime rate.
“I was talking about the NBA’s high arrest rate and that their punishment for positive drugs tests are weaker than other leagues,” Garofalo wrote. “No intent beyond that. The culture among many pro athletes that they are above the law is the problem, not people like me pointing that problem out.”
Garofalo is right about many professional athletes believing they are above the law, but there’s a way to have an intelligent discussion about sensitive topics. Tweeting about NBA players being involved with street crime is not a great approach. You would think he would have learned about the dangers of Twitter from that Seattle state Rep. who tweeted in December.
Photo: Twitter/Pat Garofalo