A Minnesota state representative has apologized after coming under fire for a tweet that some are calling racist.
Representative Pat Garofalo’s tweet on Sunday seemed to compare professional basketball players to criminals.
“Let’s be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/possible exception of increase in streetcrime,” he tweeted.
“The NBA has many examples of players and owners who are role models for our communities and for our country,” Garofalo said in a statement on the Minnesota House of Representatives' webpage. “Those individuals did not deserve that criticism and I apologize.”
Garofalo had earlier defended his comment by telling a local news station, KSTP, that he was referring to an “elitism that transcends race and a sense that athletes are above the law.”
In an email to Kevin Draper of the NBA blog The Diss, Garofalo had said that the NBA is the only major professional sports league in which testing positive for marijuana isn’t considered a substance abuse violation.
Draper pointed out in his post that the NBA considers marijuana a prohibited substance and has a penalty policy to deal with such violations. On a player's first offense, he is required to enter the league's marijuana program. On the second, he is fined $25,000 and on the third, he is suspended from five games.