Minnesota state rep’s tweet earns him ‘racist’ badge

State representative Pat Garofolo disappeared quickly from Twitter Sunday night after his tweet above started zipping around the Internet.

Is it racist?

Garofolo and some online friends were dissing the National Basketball Association, where the majority of players are African American, when he took it a step further by linking its players with crime.

Later, he claimed he was talking about the NBA’s arrest rate and the use of marijuana, according to KSTP.

Garofalo tells KSTP he was referring to player arrests, and the fact that in the NBA, players caught using marijuana are not suspended until their third offense.

He tells KSTP he rejects the notion that any criticism of professional athletes is racist. He said there is an elitism that transcends race and a sense that athletes are above the law.

But it took only about 20 minutes for the national sites to pick up the tweet.

“Is it just a bit ironic/strange that his office is located on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard?” one of the classic Gawker commenters noted.

“This man is a state representative!” Deadspin headlined.

When a tweeter noted that the NFL has far more convicted felons than the NBA, offering Garofolo an opportunity to save himself, the representative dug in, noting that the NFL has more players.

What motivated Garofolo to tweet about NBA crime is unclear. It’s been more than two weeks since New York Knicks player Felton Spencer Raymond Felton was arrested for possessing a firearm. The league’s collective bargaining agreement does not allow the league to suspend players for being arrested.

And Michael Beasley hasn’t been playing in Minnesota for two seasons now.

Garofolo also acknowledged there are more criminals in his line of work than in the NBA.

  • ficuscr

    I’ll give him the benefit of the doubt. I’ve been feeling somehow indebted to the four Republicans that voted in favor of marriage equality. Then he is also the only one to have got endorsed by them after that, never clear to me why… whatever, I’ll avoid trying to judge from his picture and the little I know. Maybe not someone I wanna hang out with but maybe not a racist either.

  • John O.

    It never ceases to amaze me how deep of a hole one can dig for themselves in 140 characters. Or less.

  • jon

    “He said there is an elitism that transcends race and a sense that athletes are above the law.”

    Lets replace the word “athletes” and see how that sentence pans out.

    “He said there is an elitism that transcends race and a sense that politicians are above the law.”

    “He said there is an elitism that transcends race and a sense that law enforcement officials are above the law.”

    “He said there is an elitism that transcends race and a sense that caucasians are above the law.”

  • Baba

    Let’s be honest, 70% of GOP legislators could quit tomorrow & nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in sanity.

  • Matt

    There is so much wrong with that tweet, regardless of whether it was intentionally racist (unlikely) or ignorant (much more likely). Either option is terrible.

    Even assuming that he is referring to the NBA’s well-documented drug problem, the choice of the words “street crime” is deplorable. Pray tell, Rep. Garofalo, to what crimes were you referring? Drug sale/possession? Petty theft? Simple robbery? Who would be committing these crimes, and how would the folding of teams cause an increase in this “street crime?”

    And I wouldn’t even assume he is referring only to athletes. Athletes require coaching staff and trainers, sports teams require fans. Is he also referring to the fans or persons beyond the athletes? And if so, why would the lack of an NBA team to which one could invest time, whether watching live or on TV, cause an increase in “street crime?”

    Please, Rep. Garofalo, explain your reasoning. I don’t buy your explanation to KSTP.

  • AndyBriebart

    So what did he say that’s wrong? Professional sports are full of a lot of overpriced thugs that have been babied their whole lives and now have a lot of money and act like asses.

    Years ago, Kevin McHale said something like “Ii don’t care if he is an axe murderer, if I can get a good 30 minutes from him each game I don’t care.”

    This is just a distraction so people dont have to talk about MNSure.

    • Ed Kohler

      @AndyBriebart Do you think “thug” is a socially acceptable alternative to the N-word?

      • Andy is Gary Fischbach. Which reminds me: NewsCut policy is to post under real names.

        • AndyBriebart

          Thugs is a term that also covers the white athletes that are idiots too. There are plenty of them too.

          Not sure why your stereotype of misbehaving athletes makes you think of African Americans, but I guess that’s you.

          • Ed Kohler

            @”Andy” could you please point to an example of a white athlete being described as a thug?

    • Ron Fresquez

      This is just a distraction so people dont have to talk about MNSure…………..or Republican stupidity. I met Andrew Brietbart three years ago in Minneapolis when he tried to crash a Progressive conference. If I knew where he was buried I would defecate on his grave……………….however I have an aversion to long lines.

  • Ron Fresquez

    Is it racist?………..Is Rep Pat Garofolo a Republican? Are bluebirds blue? If the tweet was not racist why did Rep Pat Garofolo make it disappear so quickly?

    • He didn’t make it disappear. It’s still there.

      • Ron Fresquez

        Thank you for the correction. He disappeared from Twitter not his tweet.

    • PG

      Is Pat Garofolo a racist? I say if the pointy white hat fits, wear it.

  • sgronhovd

    I’m more concerned about someone who says they “don’t have a racist bone in (their) body.” It is human (not just white) to have racial bias. When we are aware of our biases, we can choose to override them. Subconscious and unexamined racial bias results in racism.

    • PG

      Keep in mind you’re asking for a member of the GOP (the party that has used fear as a campaign tool since the birth of the Southern Strategy) to not only be self-aware but to actually be introspective. How many have taken that leap?