After almost a year of waiting, former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter by a jury on Tuesday. It was one of the biggest stories of the year and many in the sports world reacted to the news. The Las Vegas Raiders were among the NFL teams that decided to send out a message.
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) April 20, 2021
Unfortunately, the message wasn’t well received. Thousands of accounts called out the team for the misguided message. Even Los Angeles Lakers star LeBron James weighed in.
This is real???? Nah man this ain’t it at all. The F^%K!!!! 🤦🏾♂️ https://t.co/f44D7OQWfo
— LeBron James (@KingJames) April 21, 2021
The “I Can Breathe” mantra has been used before but not in the way the Raiders were likely hoping. According to Snopes, the saying was used by NYPD supporters to mock protesters after the death of Eric Garner. His death made the mantra “I Can’t Breathe” a rallying cry against police brutality.
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Mark Davis Was Not Aware of the Mantra Being Used Before
When Al Davis was in charge of the Raiders, the team was always viewed as one of the most progressive franchises. They hired the first minority coach in the NFL in Tom Flores, then hired the second Black NFL head coach in Art Shell. Davis also hired Amy Trask as the NFL’s first female CEO.
Mark Davis has yet to make any of those types of trailblazing moves but there’s no doubt he meant well by posting the “I Can Breathe” tweet. He told Tashan Reed of The Athletic that he was not aware of the saying being used in the past.
“Let me say this right off the bat: I was not aware of that,” Davis said Tuesday. “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.”
Davis told Reed that the inspiration for the tweet came from George Floyd’s brother, Philonise, who said after Chauvin’s guilty verdict, “Today, we are able to breathe again.”
“I took it from him saying that, and that’s exactly what my feelings were,” Davis said. “I don’t know who it offended. Obviously, if those T-shirts are out there and they thought that that’s what I was referring to, that’s a very big misconception and I made a huge mistake in that regard.
“I wasn’t watching the talking heads; I was listening to the [Floyd] family. And I was trying to take my lead from them. But if that’s what the cops are wearing then, really, it is a bad statement.”
Mark Davis Won’t Take Tweet Down
Despite Davis acknowledging the fact that the tweet was “bad,” he made it very clear that he has no intention of deleting the tweet.
“I will not delete it,” Davis said. “I could unpin it and let it run its course. It’s already out there. That’s the risk you take any time you put anything on Twitter: It’s out there for life. Because people are retweeting it and keeping it and doing all that stuff with it. … I rarely, rarely post stuff, but I’m not into erasing something. It’s not an apology. I’m not embarrassed by what I said, but I did learn something new. So, I learned something. I learned that cops were wearing T-shirts saying that. And that’s a negative.”
It’s perhaps misguided to keep the tweet up but it’s Davis’ call and the Raiders will keep getting hit by people of social media as long as it remains up.
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