Tuesday's verdict convicting former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin on all three charges in the murder of George Floyd marked a catharsis for many.
In communities weary of the lack of police accountability for the deaths of people of color, Chauvin's conviction was cause for hope. It didn't bring Floyd back to his family. It didn't ensure that unnecessary deaths would cease. But for people distrustful of a system they see as repeatedly failing them, Chauvin's conviction demonstrated that justice is attainable. In this one instance, a least.
Raiders 'I can breathe' tweet draws backlash
The news prompted an outpouring of response from a sports community that's played a significant role in driving the social justice conversation prior to and since Floyd's murder last May. The responses from athletes, teams and leagues ranged from relief and joy to warnings that Chauvin's conviction is not the end of the conversation.
Then there was the Las Vegas Raiders response, which drew immediate and widespread backlash on social media.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) April 20, 2021
Raiders owner Mark Davis explains, stands by tweet
The tweet elicited Floyd's repeated pleas of "I can't breathe" as Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes before he died. When made aware of the backlash toward the tweet, Raiders owner Mark Davis took responsibility for it.
"That's my tweet," Davis told the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Ed Graney. "That was me. I don't want anyone in the organization taking heat. I take full responsibility for that."
Davis told The Athletic's Tashan Reed that tweet was an ode to Floyd's brother Philonise Floyd, who said in a news conference Tuesday: "Today we are able to breathe again."
"If I offended the family, then I'm deeply, deeply disappointed," Davis told Reed. Davis also told Reed that he was not taking the tweet down.
Reed pointed out that counter-protesters in support of the NYPD wore shirts with the same slogan in 2014 in an apparent reference to Eric Garner. Garner, like Floyd, pleaded "I can't breathe" while placed in a police chokehold before his death.
"I learned something," Davis told Reed. … "I have to do a little bit more research into that just so I can speak coherently on that aspect. …
"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."
Raiders chastised on social media
The tweet drew widespread backlash and calls for its removal that apparently won't be heeded.
It’s wild how easy it would’ve been to not tweet this. https://t.co/yfGQTfMcwA
— jason c. (@netw3rk) April 20, 2021
Reddit likened the tweet to an ill-advised Florida State graphic that showed Martin Luther King Jr. doing the tomahawk chop.
— RedditCFB (@RedditCFB) April 20, 2021
But mostly, folks just wondered how long the Raiders were actually going to keep the tweet up while marveling over their social media team pinning it to the top of their timeline.
It’s unfathomable that this tweet has been up for 45 minutes.
George Floyd is still dead. My goodness this is infuriatingly and embarrassingly ignorant. https://t.co/cDxgA6A9I0
— Joe Fann (@Joe_Fann) April 21, 2021
— Domonique Foxworth (@Foxworth24) April 21, 2021
it’s only 509p in Vegas. hellooooooo, @Raiders…anyone there?!?
— shalise manza young (@shalisemyoung) April 21, 2021
Just read the room, baby. https://t.co/veYRFVQNfi
— Patrick Finley (@patrickfinley) April 21, 2021
HAHAHAHA START DRAFTING THAT APOLOGY FELLAS https://t.co/t8VxCeWQWu
— ZODIAC MOTHERFUCKER (@ZODIAC_MF) April 21, 2021
did the raiders really pin that tweet
— John Shipley (@_John_Shipley) April 21, 2021
Raiders stay trending for all the wrong reasons 🤦🏾♂️
— Antwan V. Staley (@antwanstaley) April 21, 2021
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