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Many were angry with the Las Vegas Raiders on Tuesday for a tweet the organization posted following the conviction of former Minneapolis cop Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.
Floyd’s brother, Philonise Floyd, is not one of those people. He issued a statement on Wednesday in favor of the Raiders and the “I CAN BREATHE“position for which team owner Mark Davis has claimed responsibility.
“On behalf of our family, I would like to express our deep gratitude to the Las Vegas Raiders organization and its leaders for their support of our family and for our nation’s continued pursuit of justice and equality for all. ”Said Philonise Floyd.
“Today, more than ever, we must unite and continue in this fight. For the first time in almost a year, our family has caught their breath. And I know that goes for so many people across the country and the world, too. Let’s take this breath together in honor of my big brother who couldn’t. Let’s do it for George. “
George Floyd uttered the phrase “I can’t breathe”, lying on the ground, Chauvin’s knee pressed against his neck during a police stop on May 25, 2020. At the time Chauvin removed his knee after more than nine minutes, Floyd was dead. On Tuesday, Chauvin was convicted of second degree murder, third degree murder and manslaughter.
Davis said he based the Raiders tweet on a quote from Philonise Floyd following Chauvin’s belief: “Today we can breathe again.”
“I felt it was a powerful statement,” Davis told ESPN on Tuesday. “Today has been a day where I can breathe, and we can all breathe again because justice has been served. But we still have a lot of work to do on social justice and police brutality.”
“I can’t breathe” first became a rallying cry during protests and protests after the 2014 death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old black man who repeatedly uttered the phrase as police suffocated him. In response, supporters of the police at the time replied: “I can breathe”.
Davis told Athletic he didn’t know that last sentence had ever been used in this way.
“I was not aware of this,” Davis said. “Absolutely not. I had no idea about it. This is a situation I was not aware of. I can see where there could be some negativity about what I said about. this base. “
Davis added that “if I offend the family, then I am deeply, deeply disappointed.” But he doesn’t intend to delete the tweet.
“He’s already over there,” Davis said. “These aren’t excuses. I’m not embarrassed by what I said, but I’ve learned something now.”
This story originally appeared in the Los Angeles Times.