After that tweet went out, Garofalo was bombarded with replies from people who rightly saw it as offensive and racist. Nearly three-fourths of the NBA’s players are African-American. Obviously, Garofalo is playing to the stereotype that all young black males are criminals and hoodlums. When initially confronted by his local news channel and ESPN, Garofalo was defiant and suggested that he was just being honest and truthful with his statement.
Below is what he said to ESPN on Sunday:
“I was talking about the NBA’s high arrest rate and that their punishment for positive drug 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.”
Also, he said the following to KARE 11 in Minnesota:
“I really don’t understand how being critical of a culture of pro athletes has anything to do with race. This is a behavior that transcends the race of the athlete, and it seems to be a culture in all professional sports these days.”
Of course, he might possibly be able to defend his position if it was true that NBA players get arrested at a high rate, especially in comparison with the rest of the country. However, on Monday, Kyle Wagner at Regressing, an affiliate site of Deadspin and Gawker, published an article debunking the notion that NBA players are criminals who are constantly getting arrested.
As the article pointed out, the arrest rate for the country as a whole is 4.25%. In Minnesota, it is 3.96%. Males aged 20-34, which is a better overall comparison to NBA players, have an arrest rate of 13.18. However, the arrest rate for the NBA this season is 1.92%! Therefore, whatever point Garofalo was trying to make, other than he is an ignorant racist, was made absolutely moot.