Minnesota state rep’s tweet earns him ‘racist’ badge

State representative Pat Garofolo disappeared quickly from Twitter Sunday night after his tweet above started zipping around the Internet.

Is it racist?

Garofolo and some online friends were dissing the National Basketball Association, where the majority of players are African American, when he took it a step further by linking its players with crime.

Later, he claimed he was talking about the NBA’s arrest rate and the use of marijuana, according to KSTP.

Garofalo tells KSTP he was referring to player arrests, and the fact that in the NBA, players caught using marijuana are not suspended until their third offense.

He tells KSTP he rejects the notion that any criticism of professional athletes is racist. He said there is an elitism that transcends race and a sense that athletes are above the law.

But it took only about 20 minutes for the national sites to pick up the tweet.

“Is it just a bit ironic/strange that his office is located on Martin Luther King Jr. Boulevard?” one of the classic Gawker commenters noted.

“This man is a state representative!” Deadspin headlined.

When a tweeter noted that the NFL has far more convicted felons than the NBA, offering Garofolo an opportunity to save himself, the representative dug in, noting that the NFL has more players.

What motivated Garofolo to tweet about NBA crime is unclear. It’s been more than two weeks since New York Knicks player Felton Spencer Raymond Felton was arrested for possessing a firearm. The league’s collective bargaining agreement does not allow the league to suspend players for being arrested.

And Michael Beasley hasn’t been playing in Minnesota for two seasons now.

Garofolo also acknowledged there are more criminals in his line of work than in the NBA.