A Minnesota Republican whose tweet dismissing the NBA as unpopular and dissing its players as thugs tells Breitbart Sports that the outrage directed at him serves as an instance of killing the messenger.
The quip elicited hundreds of retweets and a deluge of criticism. “There’s more criminals in your profession than in the nba buddy,” offered one angry tweeter. “True,” Garofalo responded. “Can’t really dispute that.” Ryan Vernosh, a recent Minnesota teacher of the year, tweeted that “the racial and racist undertones in this comment is alarming.” “Racist and Republican might as well be synonyms,” a person with the handle “Shugah” tweeted. “Thanks for confirming what we already know.” Another user of the popular social-media site called Garofalo a “soon to be ‘backtracker from obviously racist tweet.'”
But when Breitbart Sports reached out to Garofalo, the state representative didn’t walk back the tweet. “I was talking about the NBA’s high arrest rate and that their punishment for positive drugs tests are weaker than other leagues,” Garofalo explained in an email. “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.”
A 2010 study by the San Diego Union-Tribune found that the arrest rate of NBA players exceeds not only the arrest rate in the surrounding society but among Major League Baseball and the National Football League players as well. In the particular year looked at by the Union-Tribune, roughly 95 percent of NBA players had not been arrested.But transgressors naturally transcend the sports page.
Recent legal black eyes for the NBA include Knicks point guard Ray Felton’s felony arrest for the alleged possession of an unlicensed firearm, Houston Rocket Terrence Jones’s July arrest for allegedly stomping on the leg of a sleeping homeless man, and the drug and murder charges facing Javaris Crittenton, who infamously pulled a gun on Washington Wizards teammate Gilbert Arenas during his stint in the league.
But the Twittericans want a deletion, an apology, and a resignation. A Twitter account called “Yes, You’re Racist” noted Sunday, “Waiting for Minnesota state rep @Pat Garafolo to delete his racist NBA tweet.”
Garofalo claims to be taken aback by the brouhaha sparked by his 140-characters-or-less assessment. He told Breitbart Sports, “I’m surprised that the latest liberal victim class are pro athletes and society’s oppression of them.”