The Las Vegas Raiders got angry backlash for a tweet the team sent after Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd.
The tweet sent by the team’s official account on Tuesday said “I CAN BREATHE 4-20-21.” Floyd told officers “I can’t breathe” more than 20 times before he was killed when Chauvin pressed his knee into Floyd’s neck last May.
Chauvin was convicted of murder and manslaughter on Tuesday for causing Floyd’s death.
Raiders owner Mark Davis said he was driving when the verdict was announced and heard Floyd’s brother, Philonise, make the statement that “we can all breathe again” and decided to make that message the team’s response.
“I thought that said a lot,” Davis said in a phone interview with The Associated Press. “It said a lot about everything. I thought it was something where we could all breathe again. Justice was served. We still have a lot of work to do on social justice and police brutality. But today, justice was served.”
The tweet was widely condemned in replies on Twitter but remained pinned to the top of the team’s Twitter account more than two hours after being posted.
“It was taken negatively by 99% of the people,” Davis said. “That happens. That’s part of social media.”
Davis said he won’t delete the tweet because it is already out there but is sorry if it offended anyone in Floyd’s family.
He said he also didn’t know that the phrase “I can breathe” was used by supporters of police in New York after the death of Eric Garner in 2014 and that he wouldn’t have used that phrase if he knew the history.
“It’s a tough situation,” he said. “I feel bad it was taken in a way it wasn’t meant to be done. That can only be my fault for not explaining it.”