Monday, March 10, 2014

Unforced errors: Part II (UPDATE: Garofalo issues an apology)

So a Minnesota Republican state representative stepped in it Sunday evening.

Rep. Garofalo has a reputation for possessing a witty repartee combined with a brutally honest speaking style. As evidenced here, that can sometimes cause unnecessary angst.

Given that Twitter is a venue where one is limited by 140 characters, context can easily get lost, thus leaving people to reach their own conclusions. Quite obviously, many people viewed Garofalo’s pithy statement as racially tinged. Nevertheless, Star Tribune reporter Rachel Stassen-Berger sought clarification from Garofalo himself.

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.

Well if indeed Garofalo is being forthright about his intent, there is evidence to substantiate the NBA’s high arrest rate. In a study conducted back in 2010, the arrest rate of NBA players was 5.1%, which was nearly a full percentage point higher than the national average of 4.2%. Despite that, people are still going to question why Garofalo was even drawing attention to such a thing. Since 80% of NBA players are African-American, many folks will not let go of the racial component, a fact that should not have been lost on Garofalo. Now am I saying he’s a racist? Absolutely not. But I feel as though Garofalo used incredibly poor judgment, especially since the PC police are constantly looking to pounce on any rhetoric they perceive to be inappropriate or offensive.

One final thought. I can’t help but chuckle at the myriad leftists who are pig piling on Garofalo yet were seemingly incognito last year when a DFLer referred to a sitting African-American Supreme Court justice as an “Uncle Thomas.”

UPDATE: Rep. Garofalo issues apology.

St. Paul- Rep. Pat Garofalo (R-Farmington) gave the following statement in response to his comments Sunday evening.

“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. Last night, I publicly commented on the NBA and I sincerely apologize to those who I unfairly categorized. 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. In addition, it’s been brought to my attention that I was mistaken and the NBA policy on drug enforcement is stronger than I previously believed. Again, I offer my sincere apologies for my comments,” stated Rep. Garofalo.


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