Let’s be honest, 70% of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime
— Rep. Pat Garofalo (@PatGarofalo) March 9, 2014
A Minnesota lawmaker apologized Monday for his tweet about NBA players that some saw as racist, saying he was rightly held accountable for inaccurate stereotyping.
Rep. Pat Garofalo, a fifth-term Republican from the St. Paul suburb of Farmington, tweeted 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,” Garofalo tweeted Sunday night.
Garofalo initially stuck by his words even after they drew hundreds of negative comments and more than 1,000 retweets, insisting they were misinterpreted. About three-fourths of the NBA’s players are black, according to a 2013 report card from The Institute for Diversity and Ethics in Sport.
But in his statement Monday, he said he’d reconsidered.
”I sincerely apologize to those who I unfairly categorized,” said Garofalo, who’s seeking a sixth term in the fall. ”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.”
Garofalo also apologized for remarks about the NBA’s policy on drug enforcement, saying it was stronger than he believed. Later, he told reporters that he didn’t have a racial motivation for the tweet.
”I don’t have a racist bone in my body. I pride myself on the fact I’ve tutored in inner-city Minneapolis,” Garofalo said, adding there are ”no excuses. I apologize. I’m responsible for actions.” Associated Press
I’ve already covered this sort of ambiguous language in my column from last Friday titled, “The idiocy of banning the n-word.”
Improving one’s vernacular does not make them any less of an asshole or change the intended message. Words themselves are important but meaning without context is misguided. The factors are all subjective regardless of how passionate a speaker is or how carefully words are chosen. Language is a gift and a curse – infinitely malleable, governed by the orator, and open to judgement by all.
There’s nothing more to say. – AL
Featured image courtesy of Joe Bielawa/Flickr.