Jeff Haynes/Associated Press
Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis took responsibility for an insensitive graphic the team account tweeted after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted for the murder of George Floyd on Tuesday but said the organization will not delete the tweet.
Davis told The Athletic’s Tashan Reed that he was attempting to paraphrase the response of Floyd’s brother, Philonise, following the verdict.
“That’s my tweet,” Davis told Ed Graney of the Las Vegas Review-Journal. “That was me. I don’t want anyone in the organization taking heat. I take full responsibility for that.”
After Chauvin was convicted on counts of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter, Floyd’s brother said his family was “able to breathe again.”
The Raiders took that quote and turned it into a graphic reading “I Can Breathe”—apparently unaware the phrase has been used in a derogatory fashion to mock victims of police brutality. In 2014, after the killing of Eric Garner by New York City police, NYPD supporters around the city were seen wearing “I Can Breathe” T-shirts.
Both Garner and Floyd uttered “I can’t breathe” among their final words.
Davis said he had no idea the phrase carried a negative connotation.
“Let me say this right off the bat: I was not aware of that,” Davis said. “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.”
When asked why he still would not delete the tweet after learning why the phrase was problematic, Davis said he’s not into “erasing something,” adding he’s not embarrassed by what he said.