George Floyd's brother thanks Raiders for support following controversial tweet

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Chuck Schilken
·3 min read
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Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, attends a news conference outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis on Monday, April 19, 2021, before the murder trial against former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin advances to jury deliberations. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
Philonise Floyd, brother of George Floyd, attends a news conference on April 19 outside the Hennepin County Government Center in Minneapolis. (John Minchillo / Associated Press)

Many were angry at the Las Vegas Raiders on Tuesday for a tweet the organization made following the conviction of former Minneapolis Police Officer Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

Floyd's brother, Philonise Floyd, is not one of those people. He issued a statement Wednesday in support of the Raiders and the "I CAN BREATHE" post for which team owner Mark Davis has claimed responsibility.

"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," Philonise Floyd stated.

"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. 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," while lying on the ground with Chauvin's knee pressed against his neck during a police stop on May 25, 2020. By the time Chauvin removed his knee after more than nine minutes, Floyd was dead. On Tuesday, Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter.

Davis said he based the Raiders' tweet on a quote by Philonise Floyd following Chauvin's conviction: “Today, we are able to breathe again.”

"I felt that was a powerful statement," Davis told ESPN on Tuesday. "Today was a day where I can breathe, and we can all breathe again because justice was served. But we have a lot of work to do still on social justice and police brutality."

"I can't breathe" first became a rallying cry at protests and demonstrations following the 2014 death of Eric Garner, a 43-year-old Black man who repeatedly uttered the phrase while police had him in a chokehold. As a retort, police supporters at the time countered, "I can breathe."

Davis told the Athletic he was unaware the latter phrase had been previously used in such a manner.

"I was not aware of that," Davis said. "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 added that “if I offended the family, then I’m deeply, deeply disappointed.” But he has no intention of deleting the tweet.

"It's already out there," Davis said. "It's not an apology. I'm not embarrassed by what I said, but I did learn something now."

This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.