GOP Lawmaker Accused of Racism for Tweet About the NBA


On Sunday evening, Republican Minnesota State Rep. Pat Garofalo came under intense fire after making a racially-tinged remark about the National Basketball Association.

“Let’s be honest,” he opined, “70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime.” Tweet below:

The racial implications of this tweet are, shall we say, not-so-subtle. 80 percent of the NBA is black; and it is the professional sports league with the highest percentage of black fans.

Garofalo has a history of hating on the NBA. He also has a reputation for getting into poorly-thought-out Twitter spats, including one where he attacked liberal blogger Eric Pusey with the comment: “Your last name tells me all I need to know about you.”

The lawmaker told Minneapolis’ KARE 11 that “I reject that any criticism of athletes and their conduct is somehow racist.” He claims he was surprised by the negative reaction to his tweet, explaining, “I was talking about the NBA’s high arrest rate and they are the only major pro league in which testing positive for marijuana is not a substance abuse violation. I had no intent beyond that.”

He continued: “I really don’t understand how being critical of a culture of pro athletes has anything to do with race. This is a behavior that transcends the race of the athlete, and it seems to be a culture in all professional sports these days.”

But back on Twitter, his critics countered with some facts:

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