Sports

Las Vegas Raiders criticized for 'I can breathe' tweet posted following Chauvin verdict

Las Vegas Raiders
Posted at 10:14 AM, Apr 21, 2021
and last updated 2021-04-21 10:14:06-04

LAS VEGAS — The Las Vegas Raiders are facing criticism on Twitter over a graphic shared by the team's official account after a verdict was handed down in the Derek Chauvin trial.

The tweet is a simple black graphic with the words "I CAN BREATHE," the date — 4-20-21 — and the Raiders logo.

The slogan "I can't breathe" has been used as part of a larger movement calling for police accountability in arrests involving brutality. They were the last words of Eric Garner, an unarmed Black man who was killed in 2014 during an incident with police in New York.

They were also among the last words of George Floyd, who was murdered during an arrest on May 25, 2020.

Screen Shot 2021-04-20 at 5.00.05 PM.png

On Tuesday, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder, and second-degree manslaughter in connection with Floyd's death.

Raiders began trending on Twitter Tuesday shortly after the tweet was posted, with many users calling the tweet tone-deaf.

Below are just a few responses.

Some Twitter users pointed out that the phrase "I can breathe" was used by supporters of the NYPD to mock protesters who called for justice for Garner following his death. The New York Daily News reports that NYPD supporters wore "I can breathe" T-shirts to a counter demonstration at city hall in 2014.

The Athletic was able to get in touch with Raiders' owner Mark Davis, who took responsibility for the tweet. He said the tweet was meant to echo comments made by Floyd's brother, Philonise, following the verdict.

Philonise Floyd told reporters Tuesday that "today, we are able to breathe again."

Davis also told The Athletic that the team will not be deleting the tweet.

The post is still live as of Wednesday morning at 10 a.m. ET.

The Raiders did not respond to a request for comment.

This story was originally published by Scripps station KTNV in Las Vegas.