The Las Vegas Raiders raised some eyebrows with their response to the Derek Chauvin verdict.
Chauvin, a former Minneapolis police officer, was convicted Tuesday on three separate charges involving the death of George Floyd in May 2020: second-degree murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.
The Raiders were one of many teams to take to social media with a message for fans following the verdict. The team posted the phrase “I Can Breathe” above the current date to signify the end of the trial.
But many took offense to the post, which played on the phrase “I Can’t Breathe,” which has been utilized to outline the inequities minorities face in the United States regarding policing.
Raiders owner Mark Davis jumped to the team’s defense Tuesday night and suggested the phrase came from the Floyd’s brother, Philonise.
The post in question will not be deleted, per Davis.
“Let me say this right off the bat: I was not aware of that. Absolutely not. I had no idea of that,” Davis told reporters Tuesday, per The Athletic’s Tashan Reed. “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.
“If I offended the family, then I’m deeply, deeply disappointed.”
Some critics took issue with the post due to the New York City police department’s use of the phrase while supporting a fellow officer in wake of the Eric Garner killing in 2014.
“I learned something,” Davis said, per Reed. “… I have to do a little bit more research into that just so I can speak coherently on that aspect. … I wasn’t watching the talking heads; I was listening to the family. And I was trying to take my lead from them. But if that’s (the “I Can Breath” t-shirts) are what the cops are wearing then, really, it is a bad statement.”
Sentencing for Chauvin will take place in eight weeks.