The news that injured/suspended Giants fullback home was broken into rattled him and some of his teammates to the core.
And not just because of the lack of security they might have in their homes, but because of the messages left behind.
Via Ebenezer Samuel of the New York Daily News, there’s also a larger concern because in addition to a swastika, the letters KKK, “Go back to Africa” and other racial slurs, the burglars also scrawled “Trump” on one of the walls of his suburban New Jersey home.
Whitlock said he still thinks his Moonachie neighborhood is mostly good, though there are still some signs that it’s not as welcoming as it appeared. He recalled meeting an older female neighbor who said it was “great” when she found out he played for the Giants because: “I told everyone we didn’t have to worry about drive-bys with you.”
“I didn’t bring it to her attention, because she’s elderly and she’s trying to be nice and she’s good-hearted,” Whitlock said. “The thing about racism is it doesn’t take a whole bunch of racists to spoil a community. I don’t believe by any means that the [Moonachie] community is racist, maliciously racist. I just think there’s some bad people here.”
But Giants teammate Victor Cruz thinks it’s a sign of a growing trend, and he doesn’t think it’s an accident the name of the President-Elect was among the graffiti.
“I think it’s definitely a direct reflection of how this country’s being run and how this country’s reacting maybe to some of the decisions, some of the ways that this country’s being run and things that are being said by people at the helm of this country and at the helm of our day-to-day lives — our day-to-day, from social media all the way up to the White House,” Cruz said. “These are things that are being spoken of and talked about on a daily basis, the good and the bad, more so the bad at this point right now because that’s all we have to work with. It’s just an unfortunate situation we’re going through right now.”
Cruz said he thinks the mindset of the people who would write such things on Whitlock’s walls is connected to the recent election results.
“Absolutely,” Cruz said. “I think there’s a specific mindset that comes with supporting a guy like Donald Trump and supporting what he stands for, and there’s a certain type of person that comes with that, and I’m not sure that person is always a positive-minded person. You know what I mean? You just have to be careful.
“As a minority you have to be careful. As a person of influence you have to be careful, and you’ve just got to make sure your family’s safe and give them the knowledge to stay safe in this world.”
While the larger questions remain, it’s going to be harder to Whitlock and those near him to accept that they’re safe, just because they’re insulated by the money and fame that comes with being professional football players.