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Apology for insensitive tweet issued by Washington lawmaker

A little over 24 hours after calling the state of Arizona a “desert racist wasteland”, Washington district representative Joe Fitzgibbon issued a 763-word apology via his Facebook page.


Titled “My New Year’s Resolution”, the statement echoes previously-stated sentiment, which was shared Sunday on Twitter after the lawmaker deleted the aforementioned “desert racist wasteland” tweet — that he acted on the emotion of disappointment following the Seattle Seahawks’ seven-point loss to the Arizona Cardinals.

Fitzgibbon also weaved in football themes — specifically that of Seahawks coach Pete Carroll’s ‘Win Forever’ philosophy, which subscribes to three tenets, he explains” “1. Always protect the team; 2. No whining, no complaining, no excuses; 3. Be early.”

Following the pigskin allegory, Fitzgibbon, who was elected to represent the 34th District in Olympia in 2010, gets in to his redress.

on Sunday, while trudging out of CenturyLink Field following a frustrating 10-17 loss to the Cardinals, I did not display Win Forever behavior. I said something hurtful about a lot of people that I don’t know. I called a whole state racist. It was wrong, I regret it, and I’m very sorry.

The tweet caused an uproar across the internet — found on nearly all major news and sports sites — and elicited a strong reaction from proud Arizonans who didn’t appreciate the Washingtonian’s judgment.

Fitzgibbon’s explanation for what prompted him to share it is slightly less repentant.

As for why I shared it—this was one of those moments where I suffered from the incorrect belief that I had a thought worth sharing. As best I can tell we all seem prone to them, though my generation is the one that’s probably most disposed to sharing them online. My generation, like every young generation before it, is also a generation demanding gains in equality and justice, and we’re doing it online…

Later, he addresses the offended:

To Arizona: I love deserts. I truly do not believe yours is a state populated by racists. I don’t know why I insulted your state. I’m deeply impressed by those of you who love and are proud of your state and are working it to make it a better place. But I do not love SB 1070, and I believe in the power of state government to make things better for the people of a state. I’d love to visit and talk about any of this, particularly with any of you working on environmental issues or civil rights.

To anyone else who was inadvertently hurt: I’m sorry. It’s a painful but good reminder for me to think about the effect that my words, intentional or careless, can have.