The widespread reaction by the sports world regarding the verdict of ex-officer Derek Chauvin was largely relief and a sense of hope for the future. However, Mark Davis, the owner of the Las Vegas Raiders, found himself under fire for a controversial tweet posted to Twitter not long after the announcement of the verdict. LeBron James was not shy to share his viewpoint on the trial and the tweet.
The statement appeared to be a shot at George Floyd, who repeatedly said the phrase “I can’t breathe” before being killed while former officer Chauvin pinned his neck to the ground.
LeBron James, who’s been out with a high ankle sprain since March, previously addressed the verdict with a single-word tweet: “ACCOUNTABILITY .”
LeBron James Reacts
LeBron James was among the most visible critics of the tweet sent by the Las Vegas Raiders. James, a 4 time NBA champion, was quick to respond to the tweet, which remained pinned to the top of the team’s Twitter account overnight and remains up even hours later.
However, with an enormous backlash on Twitter quickly mounting, Raiders owner Mark Davis made a statement to clarify the tweet. Davis first took complete ownership of the tweet. According to NFL Insider Adam Schefter, Davis said,
“That is my tweet. That was me. I don’t want anyone in the organization taking heat. I take full responsibility for that.”Las Vegas Raiders Owner Mark Davis (via Twitter)
Explanation of the Tweet
In reality, the tweet was actually a misunderstood message derived from George Floyd’s brother himself. Davis said he “meant no disrespect” to Floyd’s family and that the phrase was something Philonise Floyd (George’s brother) had said himself. Philonise released a statement following the verdict saying, “Today, we are able to breathe again.”
Davis followed up his clarification with a call for continued action against police brutality in the United States:
I felt that was a powerful statement. 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.Las Vegas Raiders Owner Mark Davis (via ESPN)
Davis was also unaware that the phrase “I can breathe” was a phrase used by supporters of police in New York after the death of Eric Garner in 2014. Davis said that he wouldn’t have used the phrase if he had known the history of it.
It’s a tough situation. I feel bad it was taken in a way it wasn’t mean to be. That can only be my fault for not explaining it.Las Vegas Raiders Owner Mark Davis
Davis said the tweet will remain on the teams page for the foreseeable future.