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Republican Minnesota House Member Becomes Internet Famous for Controversial Tweet.

garofalo_NBAtweetA Republican member of the Minnesota House of Representatives became internet famous on Sunday for a tweet some called racist. After his explanation for the tweet was disproved, the representative later apologized.

Rep. Pat Garofalo earned these headlines for his tweet about NBA players and street crime. He tweeted:

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

He got picked up by the Star Tribune, ESPN and even the highest internet honor, Buzzfeed.

The Twitter-sphere quickly reacted to the tweet. Within two hours, 600 people retweeted the remark. Many called out Rep. Garofalo for the racist undertones of his comments

Garofalo initially defended his tweet. He told both Buzzfeed and the Star Tribune that he was merely:

“talking about NBA’s high arrest rate and that they are the only major pro league that testing positive for marijuana is not a substance abuse violation.”

This naturally led to more digging by other parties to see if Garofalo’s explanation adds up. Essentially, it doesn’t. Not even close.

A rough estimate found that the percent of Americans arrested is around 4.5%, based on 2010 numbers. When you pull out the age bracket for comparison (males age 20-34) they have a 13.18% arrest rate.

Now, for NBA players, they found a 1.9% arrest rate for active players.

So, no dice on Rep. Garofalo’s explanation for his tweet. His logic simply doesn’t add up.

With his explanation disproved, Rep. Garofalo apologized. In a statement, he said:

“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.”

MN Timberwolves guard Corey Brewer responded, via a tweet from WCCO reporter Pat Kessler saying:

“I really don’t care what he has to say. I really don’t care.”

As this event edges toward a conclusion, Garofalo told the Associated Press that he won’t take the controversial tweet down. He wants to leave it up as a reminder of judgement.

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