Pat Garofalo's racist tweet caused an uproar on Twitter and social media networks over the weekend after the Minnesota Congressman conflated basketball players with criminal behavior. The National Basketball Association is about 75 percent African-American, so the implication was considered especially offensive to black people.
Patrick Garofalo, the fifth-term Republican representative from Farmington, Minn., earned the ire of many with his tweet Sunday night.
"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 42-year-old legislator posted.
After over 1,000 other Twitter pointed out that the tweet had racial overtones, Garofalo only doubled down on his stance, saying he was referring to the "NBA's high arrest rate." However, by Monday, the politician, who is running for reelection again in the fall, decided to apologize for mischaracterizing basketball players.
"I sincerely apologize to those who I unfairly categorized," Garofalo said in a statement. "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."
After apparently doing some research, the Congressman said he found the NBA's drug enforcement policy was more strenuous than he realized. He also denied being racist or prejudiced towards African-Americans.
"I don't have a racist bone in my body. I pride myself on the fact I've tutored in inner-city Minneapolis," he told the Associated Press, adding that he wasn't providing "excuses." "I apologize. I'm responsible for my actions."