Earlier in the day on Tuesday, former Minneapolis police offer Derek Chauvin was found guilty on three different counts connected to the killing of George Floyd. With many considering such a verdict as a major step in the right direction in the fight against social and racial injustice, the Las Vegas Raiders quickly brought everyone two steps back after releasing perhaps the most tone-deaf statement in the history of North American professional sports.
The aforementioned Floyd repeatedly uttered the words “I can’t breathe” as Chauvin kneeled on his neck for nearly 10 minutes, an act that resulted in the former’s death. Although justice was finally served in the courtroom on Tuesday afternoon, there is no way to bring Floyd back to life. The Raiders missed this:
— Las Vegas Raiders (@Raiders) April 20, 2021
The Raiders’ tweet and statement couldn’t be more disrespectful to Floyd, his family and everyone who has continued to mourn his tragic death.
I can’t believe the Raiders tweeted that and I can’t believe they pinned it and I can’t believe it’s still there.
— Alex Smolokoff (@ASmolokoff) April 21, 2021
— ⛈👨🏻💻⛈ (@inkedtater) April 20, 2021
excuse me, what the fuck?! pic.twitter.com/GBY9Ogh61u
— Siraj Hashmi (@SirajAHashmi) April 20, 2021
— Bradley Gelber (@BradleyGelber) April 20, 2021
— Stephen A. Smith Burner (@SASBurnerAcct) April 20, 2021
Not only is this tweet by the Raiders disrespectful to Floyd and his family, but this isn’t the first time that the phrase “I can’t breathe” has been prevalent across the professional sports landscape in the United States, making it all the more inexcusable. “I can’t breathe” is also a reference to Eric Garner’s last words before he died at the hands of a police officer back in 2014. NBA legends Kobe Bryant and LeBron James, who were both active players at the time, infamously wore “I can’t breathe” shirts after the death occurred.
It remains to be seen how long it will take for the Raiders to even remove this statement, let alone apologize for even issuing it in the first place. At 8:22 p.m. Eastern — 52 minutes after the tweet was posted — it was not only still live, but also still the pinned tweet on the team’s Twitter page, with people on Twitter continuing to be amazed at the lack of an adjustment by the team’s social media staff.