George Floyd's Brother Philonise Addresses Raiders' 'I Can Breathe' Tweet

Rob Goldberg@TheRobGoldbergFeatured ColumnistApril 21, 2021

The Rev. Al Sharpton, center, joins members of George Floyd's family and supporters during a news conference after the verdict was read in the trial of former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin, Tuesday, April 20, 2021, in Minneapolis. (AP Photo/John Minchillo)
John Minchillo/Associated Press

Despite widespread criticism of a tweet by the Las Vegas Raiders on Tuesday, Philonise Floyd, the brother of George Floyd, said Wednesday the family was appreciative of the support:

Josh Dubow @JoshDubowAP

Statement from Philonise Floyd on #Raiders tweet yesterday https://t.co/gbVtbrgVe4

"Let's take this breath together in honor of my big brother who couldn't," Philonise said. "Let's do it for George."

Floyd was murdered by former Minneapolis Police officer Derek Chauvin in May 2020. On Tuesday, a jury found Chauvin guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter.

The Raiders responded to the verdict with the questionable tweet:

Las Vegas Raiders @Raiders


It came after Philonise Floyd responded to the announcement of the verdict: "Today, we are able to breathe again." Raiders owner Mark Davis said the tweet was intended to mirror Philonise Floyd's words, per Tashan Reed of The Athletic.

Even with the acknowledgment from Floyd's family, the Raiders' post was considered to be in poor taste as a reference to the "I Can't Breathe" rallying cry in protests against racial injustice. They were the words Eric Garner used before being killed by a police officer in New York City in 2014.

Reed noted that following Garner's killing, supporters of police officers in New York wore shirts that read "I Can Breathe," but Davis said he wasn't aware of that.

Chauvin kneeled on Floyd's neck for nine minutes and 29 seconds, even while Floyd pleaded that he couldn't breathe. Five medical experts testified at trial that Floyd died from a lack of oxygen caused by Chauvin's actions.

NBA star LeBron James was among those who questioned the Raiders' tweet:

LeBron James @KingJames

This is real???? Nah man this ain’t it at all. The F^%K!!!! 🤦🏾‍♂️ https://t.co/f44D7OQWfo

Davis told Reed the tweet will not be deleted.