Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, responded Wednesday to the backlash the Las Vegas Raiders received after tweeting, “I can breathe 4-20-21,” in response to the guilty verdicts of former Minneapolis police office Derek Chauvin for the murder of 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,” Floyd said in a statement shared by the law firm representing George Floyd’s family.
When Chauvin’s trial came to an end Tuesday evening, an outpouring of condolences to the family of George Floyd began. But attention on social media quickly shifted to the Raiders when their post went viral.
Raiders Owner Mark Davis took responsibility for the wording choice, saying that it was inspired by Philonise Floyd’s reaction to Chauvin’s guilty verdicts.
“Today, we are able to breathe again,” Philonise Floyd said Tuesday.
SPORTS WORLD:Reacts to guily verdict of Derek Chauvin in murder of George Floyd
OPINON:Sports world came together in united front ahead of Chauvin verdict
OPINION:Somber statements following Chauvin conviction don’t address bigger issues
“Now, more than ever, we must come together as one and continue on in this,” Philonise Floyd said in Wednesday’s statement. “For the first time in almost a year, our family had taken a breath. And I know that goes for so many across the nation and glove, as well. Let’s take this breath together in honor of my big brother who couldn’t. Let’s do it for George.”
Davis told The Athletic Tuesday that the tweet, which was pinned to the top of the Raiders’ Twitter page, would not be deleted and that he is “deeply, deeply disappointed” if he offended the family.
“I could un-pin it and let it run its course. It’s already out there,” Davis said of the tweet. “It’s not an apology. I’m not embarrassed by what I said, but I did learn something now.”
Davis said he was unaware that the phrase “I can breathe” was used by supporters of New York Police Department after the death of Eric Garner in 2014. Davis said that he would not have used the phrase if he knew the history.