Raiders Get Dragged Over ‘I Can Breathe Tweet’—George Floyd Family Responds
The Las Vegas Raiders have received heavy criticism for a tweet the organization posted after Derek Chauvin was found guilty on all charges in the death of George Floyd.
In bold white letters on a black background, the message on the image read "I CAN BREATHE 4-20-21"—the opposite of a message that George Floyd repeated ("I can't breathe") as ex-cop Derek Chauvin pressed his knee to the back of his neck for 9 minutes and 29 seconds, killing him in broad daylight.
Almost immediately there was backlash, with many criticizing the tweet as "tone-deaf." Others called it "the worst tweet" they've ever seen while some simply replied, "delete this."
Oh, and there were memes.
Raiders owner Mark Davis defended the message, taking full ownership.
That’s my tweet. That was me. I don’t want anyone in the organization taking heat. I take full responsibility for that.
Davis also said he wasn't going to delete the tweet, no matter how much it was being dragged on social media. He say the inspiration came from a family member of George Floyd.
I was driving home from a meeting when the verdict came in. Soon after, I was listening to George Floyd’s brother, Philonise, speak. And he said, ‘Today, we are able to breathe again.’ I took my lead from him. In my mind, that was all I needed to say — ‘I can breathe.’df
The Raiders owner told ESPN he meant no disrespect with his tweet—and while he feels like justice was served, Davis believes there's still a lot of work to do.
I felt that was a powerful statement. Today was a day where I can breathe, and we can all breathe again because justice was served. But we have a lot of work to do still on social justice and police brutality. I think justice was served. It’s rare I make statements about anything and if I thought it offended the [Floyd] family, I would feel very badly and apologize. Other than that, I’m not apologizing. I honesty believe after listening to Philonise, this is a day that we can all breathe.
While many were critical of the tweet, the man who inspired Davis' words reached out to show gratitude on behalf of the Floyd family in a statement issued through the family attorney.
On behalf of our family, I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the Las Vegas Raiders organization and its leadership for their support of our family and for our nation’s ongoing pursuit of justice and equality for all. Now, more than ever, we must come together as one and continue on in this fight. For the first time in almost a year, our family has taken a breath. And I know that goes for so many across the nation and globe, as well.
At the time of this post, the Raiders' "I CAN BREATHE" tweet has over 34,000 comments, 82,000 retweets, and 52,000 likes.