Las Vegas Raiders Excoriated For Bizarre Tweet After Chauvin Verdict

Josephine Harvey
·Reporter, HuffPost
·3 min read

The Las Vegas Raiders sent out a bizarre tweet Tuesday that prompted a furious uproar online after the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

The tweet showed a black and white graphic that read “I can breathe” above Tuesday’s date.

Hours earlier, a jury found the white former policeman guilty of two counts of murder and one count of manslaughter. Chauvin knelt on Floyd’s neck for more than nine minutes on May 25, 2020, even as the Black man repeatedly said “I can’t breathe.”

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The tweet was pinned at the top of the NFL team’s account even after scores of commenters called on the team to delete the message. In just over an hour, the graphic was retweeted more than 40,000 times. Critics sharing the message called it out for being in poor taste, noting that accountability for Floyd’s murder does not bring him back or serve justice for hundreds of other Black people killed by police.

Media representatives of the Raiders did not immediately respond to HuffPost’s request for comment on its decisions to post the tweet and leave it up.

Some likened it to widely panned comments from House Speaker Nancy Pelosi (D-Calif.) earlier Tuesday. Speaking to reporters, Pelosi thanked Floyd for “sacrificing your life for justice.” Critics pointed out that Floyd had no say in that sacrifice and did not consent to become a symbol for the racial justice movement that his death crystalized.

Nearly two hours after the initial Raiders tweet was sent, Las Vegas Review-Journal sports columnist Ed Graney tweeted that he had spoken with Raiders owner Mark Davis, whom he said took responsibility for the tweet.

Davis told another Las Vegas sport reporter, Tashan Reed, that the post won’t be deleted and he was disappointed if it caused offense.

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See some of the reaction below.

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Floyd’s brother, Philonese Floyd, addressed the controversy in a statement sent to HuffPost on Wednesday, in which he expressed “deepest gratitude” to the Raiders for their “support” of his family.

“Now, more than ever, we must come together as one and continue on in this fight,” he said.

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This article originally appeared on HuffPost and has been updated.