It rarely turns out well when politicians get involved in talking about sports. Usually, though, it just ends up with a terrible mispronunciation or assorted other gaffe, a la former Boston Mayor Thomas Menino.
Minnesota state Rep. Pat Garofalo took it one step further into blatantly racist territory.
The Republican tweeted about the NBA — for some unknown reason — and decided to make it a racist dig about the league's players.
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
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The tweet has gotten over 1,300 retweets and he doesn't appear to think he made any type of faux pas despite the outrage.
Of course, even when people respond to him and call out his stupidity, he doesn't seem to have a problem with throwing his own profession under the bus.
@BBallJenky True. Can't really dispute that!— Rep. Pat Garofalo (@PatGarofalo) March 9, 2014
Deadspin reached out to Garofalo for comment and he actually responded, defending the tweet. He probably should've just gone with the "I was hacked" excuse.
"Thanks for the email and for giving me a chance to respond," Garofalo wrote to Deadspin. "I was talking about the NBA's high arrest rate and that their punishment for positive drugs tests are weaker than other leagues. No intent beyond that. The culture among many pro athletes that they are above the law is the problem, not people like me pointing that problem out."
That would be all well and good ... if it wasn't TOTALLY INCORRECT. In 2011, the arrest rate for the United States was 3,991.1 per 100,000 inhabitants or 3.99 percent. The website Arrest Nation tracks all the arrests in sports (yes, this sadly exists).
In the last full year — 2013 — there were eight NBA player arrests: Jared Sullinger, DeAndre Liggins, Lamar Odom, Ty Lawson, Michael Beasley, Daniel Gibson, Terrence Williams, Ty Lawson (again). Beasley (again) was also cited for speeding, if you want to include him a second time. According to basketball-reference.com, 469 players played in the NBA last season. (Ironically, Beasley finished last in statistical rankings according to win shares.)
So that makes the arrest rate for NBA players 1.7 percent (or 1.9 percent if you include Beasley's speeding ticket).
In other words, Garofalo is wrong. The facts don't back him up. By the way, Garofalo has a degree in law enforcement, which makes this even more appalling. Please politicians, don't spout nonsense.
Follow Metro New York Sports Editor Mark Osborne on Twitter @MetroNYSports. Math is your friend, people.