In the aftermath of the verdict that found Derek Chauvin guilty on all counts in connection with the murder of George Floyd, the Raiders have created an unexpected controversy via a heavily-criticized tweet.
“I can breathe,” the team said from an account with 1.7 million followers.
“That’s my tweet,” owner Mark Davis said, via 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.'”
The tweet, pinned to the account as the first message seen on the team’s page, has not been deleted.
“I believe it has a lot of context,” Davis said. “[Chauvin] was on his neck for more than nine minutes and was found guilty on all counts. And now, his knee is fully off his neck. Unfortunately, it’s a little too late.”
Davis said he told team personnel to post the message on the franchise’s platforms.
“I think justice was served,” Davis said. “It’s rare I make statements about anything and if I thought it offended the [Floyd] family, I would feel very badly and apologize. Other than that, I’m not apologizing. I honesty believe after listening to Philonise, this is a day that we can all breathe. . . . I feel bad if what I wrote was misinterpreted. But I listened to what the family said and how it felt, not some talking heads. I hope people understand that.”
Some surely do. Many surely don’t. The simple reality of social media is that anyone and everyone who disagrees with anything and everything someone has to say has a platform for sounding off.