Burglars broke into the New Jersey home of New York Giants player Nikita Whitlock on Tuesday and then covered it with white supremacist graffiti and racist epitaphs.
According to CBS-New York, the criminals spray painted phrases including “Go back to Africa,” “KKK” and “Trump” and a swastika on the walls of the apartment he shares with his wife and two young children. Whitlock told the news station that he had covered up the swastika so that his 6-year-old son wouldn’t see it.
“It’s about to be 2017. Oppression, racism, hatred, violence, there’s no need for that,” he stressed.
“Racism is real and instead of close to home this time they came inside,” Whitlock wrote in an Instagram post. “My family is safe but we are saddened by the hate. Thanks to the Moonachie Police Department for all of your help!”
In addition to the vandalism, the Whitlocks said that they were robbed of some electronics and jewelry. Police are investigating the break-in as a hate crime and are asking neighbors for any security camera video, the Associated Press noted.
In an interview with The Record, the 25-year-old fullback talked in-depth about the burglars’ cowardice.
“They broke in, they vandalized, they shared their opinion — they could have shared it on Facebook, but they decided to share it in this fashion,” he said on Thursday.
“I think the one thing that does disturb me more is the fact that people are using (President-elect Donald) Trump’s name. To me, it’s like, OK, you believe Trump believes certain things. But he wasn’t here. This was a personal decision, not a Trump decision. So next time, write your name on the wall.“
He also said his home was almost broken into three weeks ago and it feels “like somebody was definitely trying to get” his family.
“I’m one of the last people you think this would happen to,” he said. “I’m in a nice area, I make good money, I keep to myself and I’m not flashy. Instead of coming close to home, they came inside. I have a lot of peers and a lot of family and people in my circle who don’t believe these kinds of things can happen to them or to me or to us.”
On Friday, Whitlock took to Twitter to thank everyone for their support.
Whitlock’s teammate Victor Cruz, who has also criticized Colin Kaepernick’s protests, said he was disturbed by the effect Trump has had on some of his supporters.
“That’s our problem, that you’re worried about what someone of influence may be talking about and his opinion rather than attacking the actual issue at hand, and that’s innocent minorities dying on a daily basis, dying on a weekly basis, or going through things with their family, vandalism,” Cruz said. “[This is] in the tri-state area. This is right here in our home. This is our back yard and these things are happening.”
Sadly, incidents like what happened to the Whitlock’s are not new or rare, especially since last month. According to a report from the Southern Poverty Law Center, within 10 days of Trump being elected, there were 900 documented hate incidents across the U.S. The group also found that African-Americans, immigrants, Jews, Muslims, LGBTQ people, women and other groups were all targeted with this bias.
Can someone remind us how hate will make America great again?
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