Philonise Floyd issued a statement of support on Wednesday, April 21, for the Las Vegas Raiders after the organization received backlash for a tweet following the conviction of former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin for murdering his brother George Floyd.
“On behalf of our family, I would like to extend our deepest gratitude to the Las Vegas Raiders organization and its leadership for their support of our family and for our nation’s ongoing pursuit of justice and equality for all. Now, more than ever, we must come together as one and continue on in this fight. For the first time in almost a year, our family has taken a breath. And I know that goes for so many across the nation and globe, as well. Let’s take this breath together in honor of my big brother who couldn’t. Let’s do it for George,” Philonise Floyd said.
The Raiders’ tweet, sent late Tuesday afternoon, read: “I CAN BREATHE 4-20-21.” Floyd told officers, “I can’t breathe,” more than 20 times before he died when Chauvin pressed his knee into the back of Floyd’s neck for about nine minutes last May.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) April 20, 2021
Raiders owner Mark Davis told ESPN’s Paul Gutierrez on Tuesday that the tweet was his idea and that he does not plan to delete it.
Davis told ESPN that he “meant no disrespect” to Floyd’s family with the tweet and that he “took the lead” from Philonise Floyd, who said after the verdict, “Today, we are able to breathe again.”
Davis told The Associated Press and The Athletic that 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 had known the history.
Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter by a jury for his role in the murder of Floyd outside of a Minneapolis convenience store.