Raiders' `I can breathe' tweet was team owner's idea, he says
Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis took responsibility Tuesday night for a widely criticized tweet responding to the verdict against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin that was sent from the official team account.
“I CAN BREATHE 4-20-21,” the tweet states in large white capital letters against a black background. It was posted after Chauvin was found guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter in the killing of George Floyd, who repeatedly said, “I can't breathe” as Chauvin pressed his knee into the back of his neck for more than nine minutes.
“That's my tweet. That was me,” Davis told the Las Vegas Review-journal. “I don't want anyone in the organization taking heat. I take full responsibility for that.
“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.'”
The tweet, pinned atop the team's feed for a time, had been retweeted more than 7,000 times, with more than 64,000 quote tweets and nearly 40,000 likes late Wednesday morning. Many Twitter users called it tone deaf. “This is the worst tweet I've ever seen,” one user wrote. Others wrote “massive yikes” and a bad tweet that was “Hall of Fame worthy.”
In response to criticism against the tweet, Philonise Floyd on Wednesday issued a statement through the family's 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,” he said. “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.”