Raiders owner Davis takes responsibility for 'I can breathe' tweet

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(Reuters) - Mark Davis, the owner of the NFL's Las Vegas Raiders, took responsibility for a controversial post on his team's Twitter account in response to the conviction of former Minneapolis policeman Derek Chauvin for the murder of George Floyd.

Chauvin was found guilty of all three charges of second-degree murder, third-degree murder and manslaughter on Tuesday.

In a confrontation captured on video, Chauvin, a white veteran of the police force, pushed his knee into the neck of Floyd, a 46-year-old Black man in handcuffs, for more than nine minutes as Floyd repeatedly gasped: "I can't breathe."

Following the verdict, the Raiders posted a tweet that read "I CAN BREATHE 4-20-21," triggering outrage on social media.

Davis later told the Review-Journal that he meant no disrespect and had taken his cue from Floyd's brother, Philonise, who said following the verdict, "Today, we are able to breathe again."

"That's my tweet. That was me," Davis said. "I don't want anyone in the organization taking heat. I take full responsibility for that.

"I was driving home from a meeting when the verdict came in. Soon after, I was listening to Floyd’s brother, Philonise, speak. I took my lead from him.

"It's rare I make statements about anything and if I thought it offended the family, I would feel very badly and apologise.

"Other than that, I'm not apologising."

Chauvin's conviction was celebrated across the sporting world, with NBA Hall of Famer Magic Johnson, Los Angeles Lakers all-star LeBron James and four-times tennis Grand Slam champion Naomi Osaka welcoming the verdict.

(Reporting by Arvind Sriram in Bengaluru; Editing by Peter Rutherford)