Farmington legislator's tweet on NBA called racist

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Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington

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A state lawmaker’s tweet on Sunday evening about the National Basketball Association drew hundreds of sharp responses within hours.

“Let’s be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in street crime,” Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, typed in his message on the social media site.

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.

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

Garofalo has a history of using social media to say things that cause an uproar, including a tweet last July describing Education Minnesota, a teachers union, as a liberal hate group.

Rachel Stassen-Berger

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