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'That's my tweet': Millionaire owner hits back amid nation's outrage

Andrew Reid
·4-min read
Pictured here, Raiders team owner Mark Davis and the tweet that has come under fire from Americans.
Mark Davis has taken responsibility for a tweet that left Americans outraged. Pic: Getty/Twitter

The multi-millionaire team owner of the Las Vegas Raiders says he takes full responsibility for a controversial tweet relating to George Floyd that sparked nationwide outrage.

Raiders owner Mark Davis - who is estimated to be worth around $A650 million - said he was behind the "I can breathe" tweet that accompanied news that Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin was convicted of all three charges of murder and manslaughter in the deadly arrest of George Floyd.

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The 12-member jury found Chauvin, 45, criminally liable in Floyd's death last year after considering three weeks of testimony from 45 witnesses.

Floyd's murder prompted an outpouring of civil unrest across America that extended to the sports community.

Tuesday's conviction of the former Minneapolis police officer marked a catharsis for many.

In communities weary of the lack of police accountability for the deaths of people of colour, Chauvin's conviction was cause for hope. 

It didn't bring Floyd back to his family. It didn't ensure that unnecessary deaths would cease. But for people distrustful of a system they see as repeatedly failing them, Chauvin's conviction demonstrated that justice is attainable. 

The news prompted an outpouring of support from an American sports community that's played a significant role in driving the social justice conversation prior to and since Floyd's murder last May. 

The responses from athletes, teams and leagues ranged from relief and joy to warnings that Chauvin's conviction is not the end of the conversation.

Then there was the Las Vegas Raiders response, which drew immediate and widespread backlash on social media.

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The tweet elicited Floyd's repeated pleas of "I can't breathe" as Chauvin knelt on his neck for more than nine minutes before he died. 

When made aware of the backlash towards the post, Raiders owner Davis was quick to take full responsibility for it.

"That's my tweet," Davis told the Las Vegas Review-Journal's Ed Graney. "That was me. I don't want anyone in the organization taking heat. I take full responsibility for that."

Davis told The Athletic's Tashan Reed that tweet was an ode to Floyd's brother Philonise Floyd, who said in a news conference Tuesday: "Today we are able to breathe again."

"If I offended the family, then I'm deeply, deeply disappointed," Davis said, before revealing that he wasn't going to take the tweet down.

Raiders owner Mark Davis can be seen here having a laugh during a conversation.
The Raiders owner refused to apologise for his controversial tweet. Pic: Getty

NFL owner stops short of apologising

When it was pointed out to Davis that counter-protesters in support of the NYPD wore shirts with the same slogan in 2014 in an apparent reference to Eric Garner - another man of colour killed by a police officer - the Raiders owner said he had no idea.

"I learned something," Davis said. ... "I have to do a little bit more research into that just so I can speak coherently on that aspect. ...

"Let me say this right off the bat: I was not aware of that. Absolutely not. I had no idea of that. That's a situation that I was not aware of. I can see where there could be some negativity towards what I said based on that."

Davis' comments came after a wave of backlash on social media, with users labelling his tweet "offensive" and "tone deaf".

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