GOP gubernatorial nominee Carl Paladino’s campaign is pushing back against allegations that he’s a racist, using a testimonial from NFL Hall-of-Famer and former Buffalo Bill, Thurman Thomas, a long-time friend of the candidate.

Interesting aside: According to Paladino’s campaign manager Michael Caputo, the video – a version of which will most likely end up on the air as a TV ad – was produced by Matt Quinn, son of Larry Quinn, the general manager of the Buffalo Sabres.

That’s the hockey team owned by Tom Golisano, the three-time Independence Party candidate for whom Paladino advisor (and Caputo mentor) Roger Stone worked in 2002.

Golisano, who still owns a home in WNY, but moved his permanent residence to Florida to escape the Empire State’s high property taxes, has spoken to Paladino about his campaign and advised him only to run if he could land a major party line (mission accomplished).

Paladino has been under fire for forwarding racist, sexist and pornographic e-mails – a scandal that broke early on in the campaign and has been reignited in light of his success in the GOP primary Tuesday.

But the e-mails aren’t the only example of Paladino’s controversial statements regarding race. For exmaple, he once said the only reason a Buffalo schools superintendent had been hired was because of the color of his skin.

None of this seems to bother Thomas in the least, however. Here’s the script of his pro-Paladino ad:

“I’m Thurman Thomas, NFL Hall-of-Famer from the Buffalo Bills. Politics is a dirty business. Now, political insiders who fear Carl Paladino’s plan to clean up Albany are calling him a racist. I’ve known Carl for years; he’s no racist. Carl has created hundreds of jobs for people of color and he’s funded a homeless mission for 15 years, feeding, housing and educating Buffalo’s poorest families. I know Carl Paladino – he’ll be a governor for all New Yorkers.”