St. Paul NAACP Demands House, Gov. Censure Rep. Garofalo for 'Racist' Tweet

Updated: 03/19/2014 9:13 AM By: Jennie Olson

State Rep. Pat Garofalo
State Rep. Pat Garofalo

A group of Minnesotans will call for an official reprimand for State Rep. Pat Garofalo over a controversial tweet he sent.

On Sunday, March 9, Garofalo tweeted, “Let's be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime.”

Many called the tweet racist.

Garofalo initially stuck by his words and said they were misinterpreted as racist. Garofalo told 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 told 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.

However, he later sent a statement of apology, saying:

In the last 24 hours, I’ve had the opportunity to re-learn one of life’s lessons: whenever any of us are offering opinions, it is best to refer to people as individuals as opposed to groups. Last night, I publicly commented on the NBA and I sincerely apologize to those who I unfairly categorized. 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. In addition, it’s been brought to my attention that I was mistaken and the NBA policy on drug enforcement is stronger than I previously believed.  Again, I offer my sincere apologies for my comments.

But members of the black Twin Cities community, including the St. Paul NAACP, union representatives, and other civil right organizations, say it’s not enough. They want an official apology and are asking the Minnesota House of Representatives and Gov. Mark Dayton to punish Garofalo.