Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, defended the Las Vegas Raiders against criticism they received for tweeting “I can breathe” after Derek Chauvin’s guilty verdict was read.
”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,” he said in a statement. “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,” Philonise continued. “Let’s take this breath together in honor of my big brother who couldn’t. Let’s do it for George.”
On Tuesday (April 20), Chauvin was found guilty on charges of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter. Following the verdict, the Raiders’ social media team took to Twitter to send a tweet to show solidarity with the judgment. However, their message was met with backlash from thousands of people online.
Following the criticism, Mark Davis, owner of the Raiders, released a statement saying that “I can breathe” came from Philonise, who said, “Today, we are able to breathe again,” during the family’s press conference. Davis issued an apology to the family if they were offended, but proclaimed that the tweet would not be deleted from their Twitter account.
Twitter user @djboothEIC tweeted, “Communications department approved this. PR department approved this. Digital team approved this. Legal, too, probably. Unreal.”
“The Raiders are a prime example of social media social justice,” wrote @CallMeNokes. “No, we still can’t breathe, there is more work to do and pretending like there isn’t, is one of the biggest indictments on society today. Don’t ride the wave, be about it. #TheLordsWork.”
Journalist Mike Freeman wrote, “What’s worse: the actual Raiders’ tweet, or the fact the team won’t delete it?”