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Farmington legislator's NBA tweet causes stir, called racist

  • Blog Post by: Rachel E. Stassen-Berger
  • March 10, 2014 - 2:49 PM

A lawmaker's Sunday evening tweet about the National Basketball Association caused a massive stir in reactions.

Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, said:

Within two hours, more than 600 people retweeted it, meaning they passed it on to their followers, and hundreds more responded, many calling Garofalo's comment racist. Among them Ryan Vernosh, whose Twitter bio identifies him as the 2010 Minnesota Teacher of the Year, replied to Garofalo that: "the racial and racist undertones in this comment is beyond alarming."

Asked about his tweet, Garofalo said he was, "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."

"No intent beyond that," he said.

Update: The tweet was noticed by online news outlet BuzzFeed and shared under the headline: "Minnesota Republican Lawmaker Sends Racist Tweet About NBA Players." That set off a new stream of reaction.

The National Basketball Association is considered to have a drug testing policy that is fairly weak for professional sports but there is some testing for marijuana.

Update: Garofalo apologized for the tweet on Monday. He also said: "I was under the mistaken impression that the National Basketball Association did not test for marijuana. In fact, that is false...That is a drug policy violation and something that's clearly stated in their collective bargaining agreement." You can read the NBA's anti-drug policy, which specifically mentions marijuana, here.

Garofalo has a history of using social media to say that things that cause an uproar. See the tangle he got into eight months ago here.

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