A fifth-term Minnesota lawmaker is switching up his stance and apologizing for tweeting racially insensitive remarks about black NBA players over the weekend.
Rep. Pat Garofalo tweeted Sunday night (March 9), "Let's be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime."
The comment got him lambasted throughout the Twitterverse, and although he initially refused to back down from the tweet, the politician had a change of heart. "I sincerely apologize to those who I unfairly categorized," said the Republican legislator. "The NBA has many examples of players and owners who are role models for our community and for our country. Those individuals did not deserve that criticism and I apologize."
Three quarters of the NBA's players are black, according to a 2013 report from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.
Although Garofalo made "no excuses" and took full responsibility for his "actions," later in the apology statement he repented for speaking ill of the NBA's drug enforcement policy and denied harboring racist feelings. "I don't have a racist bone in my body," he continued. "I pride myself on the fact I've tutored in inner-city Minneapolis."
Garofalo is currently running for a sixth term as a Minnesota state representative and has a reputation for sarcastic, outspoken and right-wing tweets about politics, pop culture, sports and more. Last month, he tweeted, "If the bird watching, hippy-tofu-eating vegan liberals in Minneapolis had their way, the Iron Range never would have mined taconite either," in regards to a statewide debate over a mining project.
His opinions, however, are not all based on typical partisan rhetoric. Garofalo was one of four House Republicans who voted to legalize gay marriage. He also supported initiatives to build stadiums for the Minnesota Twins and Minnesota Vikings, the latter of which includes updating the arena where the Minnesota Timberwolves play.
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(Photo: AP Photo/Minneapolis Star-Tribune, Glen Stubbe)