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State Rep. Garofalo apologizes for disparaging NBA tweet

Garofalo, a Republican from Farmington, was criticized for what many considered a racist remark about pro basketball players and crime.

After fast and furious reaction from around the country, state Rep. Pat Garofalo has apologized for a tweet he made about the NBA.

Sunday afternoon he wrote:

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

Today, after much negative attention, he said in a statement:

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“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.”

In a story today, KARE 11 quoted Garofalo saying:

“I reject that any criticism of athletes and their conduct is somehow racist.”

The story added:

Garofalo said that the negative reaction came as a surprise and that his tweet had nothing to do with the fact that the majority of NBA athletes are African American.

“I was talking about the NBA’s high arrest rate,” he said.

Garofalo said he was referencing an attitude among professional athletes in which they think they are above the law.

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