Seth Udinski, FISM News
In yet another example of friendly fire within the political left, the Las Vegas Raiders and their owner Mark Davis are under siege on social media. After the trial of Derek Chauvin ended with a guilty verdict, the Raiders sent a tweet on Tuesday in support of the verdict and the BLM movement that said “I Can Breathe” and “4-20-21.”
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) April 20, 2021
The gesture of support triggered an enraged response. Thousands took to Twitter to berate Mark Davis, who both approved the post and took full responsibility for it, for using the phrase to show support for George Floyd and his family. Despite the backlash, Davis told ESPN he will not delete the tweet.
The apparent reason for the outrage is twofold. Some were upset because they felt the tweet inappropriately signaled an end to the Raiders’ involvement in the quest for social justice. Others were upset at the history behind the literal words “I can breathe.” The phrase became something of a slogan for police support in the 2014 case of Eric Garner, a 43-year old African American who was killed by former New York City police officer Daniel Pantaleo. Garner was killed by suffocation during an arrest in which he repeatedly said “I can’t breathe,” the same phrase used by George Floyd in his fatal arrest years later.
Though many leftists were irate on social media, Floyd’s family took the high road and, to their credit, handled the backlash to the Raiders’ tweet very graciously. Philonise Floyd, George Floyd’s younger brother, released a statement Wednesday in which he said,
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….For the first time in almost a year, our family has taken a breath….Let’s take this breath together in honor of my big brother who couldn’t.