Minnesota legislator's tweet about NBA criticized as racist

State Rep. Pat Garofalo
Minnesota House of Representatives official photo

Last Updated Mar 10, 2014 1:10 PM EDT

MINNEAPOLIS - A Minnesota legislator's tweet about the NBA has prompted hundreds of responses, with many on social media calling it racist. The legislator later apologized after an outcry.

State Rep. Pat Garofalo sent a tweet Sunday that read: "Let's be honest, 70 percent of teams in NBA could fold tomorrow + nobody would notice a difference w/ possible exception of increase in streetcrime."

The Star Tribune reports that when asked about the tweet, the Farmington Republican initially 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."

Garofalo added: "No intent beyond that."

Within two hours of his tweet, more than 600 people retweeted it and hundreds more responded. Many called the comment he made in the tweet racist.

Garofalo initially stuck by his words and said they were misinterpreted as racist. But late Monday morning, he put out a statement of apology.

Garofalo says the NBA has many examples of players and owners who are good role models.