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Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, apologized Monday for a tweet that critics said carried racial overtones. (Forum Communications file photo)

Minnesota lawmaker issues apology following Twitter flap

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Minnesota lawmaker issues apology following Twitter flap
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ST. PAUL -- A Minnesota lawmaker who issued a tweet many called racist has apologized.

Rep. Pat Garofalo, R-Farmington, posted a tweet Sunday night saying: "Let's be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/possible exception of increase in streetcrime."

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The tweet drew immediate criticism such as: "The racial and racist undertones in this comment is beyond alarming."

Another added: "And THIS is the mentality of a man tasked with creating laws in the state of Minnesota!!"

Garofalo issued an apology Monday, saying his comments were not proper.

“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," he said. "Last night, I publicly commented on the NBA and I sincerely apologize to those who I unfairly categorized."

Garofalo said the National Basketball Association has many examples of players and owners "who are role models for our communities and for our country." He said they did not deserve his criticism.

He also tweeted his apology.

In a Sunday night television interview, the lawmaker said he was referring to the high arrest rate of NBA players, and did not mean the tweet to be racist.

While many indicated they liked Garofalo's comment on Twitter when they "favorited" it and hundreds sent the tweet tor their followers, it drew widespread criticism.

"There's more criminals in your profession than the nba buddy," one person tweeted.

"#patgarofalo  is embarrassment to Minnesota for making national news with racist statements. All Minnesotans aren’t like this twerp!" added another.

Garofalo is well-known for his frequent, and sometimes edgy, tweets and comments.

The St. Paul Pioneer Press, a media partner with Forum Communications Co., contributed to this story.

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Don Davis
Don Davis has been the Forum Communications Minnesota Capitol Bureau chief since 2001, covering state government and politics for two dozen newspapers in the state. Don also blogs at Capital Chatter on Areavoices.
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