Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis 'meant no disrespect' with widely criticized tweet

HENDERSON, Nev. -- Las Vegas Raiders owner Mark Davis, reacting to widespread criticism of a tweet sent from the team's Twitter account after former Minneapolis police officer Derek Chauvin was convicted of murdering George Floyd, told ESPN on Tuesday night that the post was his idea, and he does not plan to delete it.

The tweet, sent late Tuesday afternoon, read: "I CAN BREATHE 4-20-21." Floyd told officers, "I can't breathe," more than 20 times before he was killed when Chauvin pressed his knee into the back of Floyd's neck for about nine minutes last May.

Davis told ESPN that he "meant no disrespect" to Floyd's family with the tweet, and that he "took the lead" from Floyd's brother, Philonise, who said following the verdict, "Today, we are able to breathe again."

"I felt that was a powerful statement," Davis said. "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."

The tweet was widely condemned in replies on Twitter but remained pinned to the top of the team's account hours after being posted.

Davis told The Associated Press and The Athletic that he also didn't know that the phrase "I can breathe" was used by supporters of police in New York after the death of Eric Garner in 2014 and that he wouldn't have used that phrase if he knew the history.

"It's a tough situation," Davis told the AP. "I feel bad it was taken in a way it wasn't meant to be done. That can only be my fault for not explaining it."

Chauvin was found guilty of second-degree unintentional murder, third-degree murder and second-degree manslaughter by a jury for his role in the murder of Floyd outside of a local convenience store.

The Associated Press contributed to this report.