The responses, predictably, called Garofalo out on the racial implications of his tweet:
The racist implications are pretty clear, given that that African-Americans make up more than 75% of all NBA players.
Did Rep. Garofalo mean to make such a racist statement, or was he commenting on the criminal issues of NBA players alone? I honestly couldn’t say. What I will say is that elected officials are – and should be – held to higher standards. Rep. Garofalo should never have made such a comment, because it sounds a lot like he is saying that blacks are criminals.
Also, Rep. Garofalo is no stranger to controversy. As noted by SportsGrid, he has previously made news because (text below copied verbatim, all credit to SportsGrid):
* In Oct. 2013, objected strenuously to the fact that a provision in the lease for the new Vikings’ stadium prohibits gun sales.
* Forgot how many women are on the Minnesota State Supreme Court.
* Called a teachers’ union a hate group.
* In a spat with liberal blogger Eric Pusey, tried to make a point by tweeting “Your last name tells me all I need to know about you.”
Hilariously enough, Garofalo’s website says that he “has worked to bring Republicans and Democrats together on creating an environment which creates more jobs in Minnesota.” Right.
As of 9am on 3/10, the tweet is still up. However, Rep. Garofalo did issue a clarification to Deadspin:
I was talking about the NBA’s high arrest rate and that their punishment for positive drugs tests are weaker than other leagues. 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.
So…he doubled down.