Raiders owner says he will not delete ‘I Can Breathe’ tweet after backlash

Mark Davis said the tweet was inspired by Philonise Floyd, who said, in part, that he and his grieving family "are able to breathe again."

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On Tuesday, NFL team The Las Vegas Raiders posted and pinned a tweet with the image of the phrase “I CAN BREATHE” and the date 4-20-21, the day of the guilty verdict in the case of the State of Minnesota versus Derek Chauvin

The statement was instantly criticized by many on social media, who called it “tone-deaf” and a mockery of the words that murder victim George Floyd uttered as now-former police officer Chauvin choked the life from his body on a Minneapolis street nearly 11 months ago. 

Las Vegas Raiders owner and managing general partner and Las Vegas Aces owner Mark Davis attends last month’s UCLA-Stanford championship game of the Pac-12 Conference women’s basketball tournament in Las Vegas, Nevada. (Photo by Ethan Miller/Getty Images)

Raiders owner Mark Davis said the tweet was inspired by statements made by Philonise Floyd, who said, in part, that he and his family “are able to breathe again” after the guilty verdict against the man who killed his older brother. 

Tashan Reed, who writes for The Athletic, spoke with Davis and shared his remarks in a Twitter thread. 

According to Reed, “#Raiders owner Mark Davis said the ‘I Can Breathe’ wording came from George Floyd’s brother Philonise, who said, ‘Today, we are able to breathe again.’ Davis added: ‘If I offended the family, then I’m deeply, deeply disappointed.’ He also said the post won’t be deleted.” 

Read More: Obamas call for action after Chauvin verdict: ‘ We cannot rest’

“Davis said he wasn’t aware that NYPD supporters wore ‘I Can Breathe’ shirts following the 2014 killing of Eric Garner,” Reed continued. “After I brought that up to him he said, ‘I learned something… I have to do a little bit more research into that just so I can speak coherently on that aspect.’

“More from Davis: ‘Let me say this right off the bat: I was not aware of that. Absolutely not. I had no idea of that. That’s a situation that I was not aware of. I can see where there could be some negativity towards what I said based on that.'”

Read More: Darnella Frazier says she ‘cried so hard’ at Chauvin verdict

Reed contends Davis said he was listening to the family, that he claimed he said he “was trying to take my lead from them. But if that’s (the ‘I Can Breath’ t-shirts) are what the cops are wearing then, really, it is a bad statement.”

Other NFL teams released statements on the verdict, expressing their condolences to Floyd family.

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