NFL owner refuses to take down George Floyd tweet saying, 'I CAN BREATHE' after Derek Chauvin was convicted of murder

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Jackson Thompson
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Raiders Owner Mark Davis
Las Vegas Raiders Owner Mark Davis Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images
  • The Las Vegas Raiders sent a tweet that read "I Can Breathe" after Derek Chauvin was found guilty.

  • The tweet drew backlash for its similarity to a phrase used for pro-police demonstration in 2014.

  • Raiders owner Mark Davis said he didn't know it would be offensive but also won't take it down.

  • Visit Insider's homepage for more stories.

The Las Vegas Raiders sent a tweet that read "I CAN BREATHE" after Derek Chauvin was found guilty of the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday.

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The tweet drew backlash for being tone-deaf and its similarity to a phrase echoed by NYPD supporters after a New York City police officer killed Eric Garner by putting him in a chokehold in 2014. Pro-police demonstrators wore shirts with the phrase "I can breathe" as a counter-protest to those protesting police brutality.

Raiders owner Mark Davis admitted that he was the one who sent the tweet and did not do so to incite pro-police sentiment. Davis said that the tweet was inspired by a phrase from Floyd's brother Philonese, who said, "Today, we are able to breathe again." after Chauvin's verdict.

"That's my tweet," 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.'"

Still, despite many finding the tweet offensive, Davis also said that he wouldn't take the tweet down, according to Tashan Reed of The Athletic.

"I felt that was a powerful statement," Davis said. "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."

Philonise Floyd has even publicly expressed gratitude toward Davis and The Raiders for conveying the message through the team's social media platform.

"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," Floyd said in a statement shared by the law firm representing George Floyd's family.

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The tweet was pinned to the top of The Raiders' official Twitter account for the entirety of Tuesday evening. It has since been unpinned, but it is still live on the account's media posts.

Several high-profile figures in sports have called out the Raiders for the tweet and leaving it up, citing a lack of sensitivity on the issue, including LeBron James and Jemele Hill.

Insider has reached out to the Raiders' communication team for comment but has not heard back at the time of publication.

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