Giants' Whitlock gets dose of Trump's America with racist slurs

Nikita Whitlock can’t stop blaming himself for this entire nightmare, for all the racist epithets that now adorn the walls of his Moonachie apartment.

It’s his own fault that he and his wife and two children returned to a house that had “Trump” scribbled on one wall and “KKK” and “Go back to Africa” on others. It’s Whitlock’s own fault, he says, that he became another victim of the wave of hate crimes that’s followed Donald Trump’s presidential election victory.

He’d made it, he thought, become a member of the Giants, found a house not far from MetLife Stadium in a predominantly white neighborhood and it was now home.

“You feel at home,” Whitlock told the News Thursday. “You feel like you know these people. And you get lulled to sleep. That’s on me. It won’t happen again.

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“It is as much my fault as it is anyone’s,” adds Whitlock, who has spent the season on injured reserve, “because I can’t allow myself to be vulnerable, knowing that all it takes is one racist person to be at the house.”

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Nikita Whitlock returned home Tuesday night to find racist messages written on his walls.

(Tom Szczerbowski/Getty Images)

All it took was one ugly incident of vandalism to shake him from his illusion and remind him that, in Trump’s United States, Nikita Whitlock will only ever be a black man, even if he did “make it” to the NFL. All it took was this incident to explain why Colin Kaepernick and so many other pros keep protesting despite their “riches” and “privilege,” talking as if they’re targets for racism.

It’s because they, like all other minorities, are indeed targets for racism, especially in Trump’s America, where the most brazen racists do not discriminate. Now, a member of the stately New York Football Giants has had his home branded by hate in Donald Trump’s name, showing just how far the cruelest Trump zealots will go. Now, it’s plainly obvious why so many minorities have marched in recent weeks, why so many others live in perpetual fear.

“I have family members who don’t believe things can get worse, race-relations-wise,” Whitlock says. “I talk to them all the time, say it’s real, and it happens. Well, it happened.”

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Whitlock, 25, who grew up in Texas and played college ball at Wake Forest in North Carolina, knew all about the racism of the South, but like most pro athletes, he didn’t expect it here. Yes, he knew he’d moved into a predominantly white neighborhood, but he was never worried. He didn’t even set up a home security system.

Image has been edited to remove profanity.

Image has been edited to remove profanity.

(Courtesy Whitlock family)

“You feel that way (as if racism isn’t going to be an issue) by the way you act,” he said of being an NFL player. “But you know it’s there, if you’re conscious at all.”

Whitlock believes the Moonachie neighborhood is filled with good people, he says, even though he saw that a few neighbors did have “racist tendencies.” He recounts how he told a gentle older woman that he played for the Giants, and she remarked that that was “great” 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,” says Whitlock, who is biracial, with a white mother and black father.

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Whitlock could deal with such things, but not what happened on Tuesday night, when he and wife Ashley took their six-year-old son and newborn daughter to a playdate. When they returned home, Whitlock walked in the door first, saw the nightmare, and sent his wife and children to a friend’s house.

The vandalism included Trump's name on the Whitlock apartment's wall.

The vandalism included Trump’s name on the Whitlock apartment’s wall.

(Courtesy Whitlock family)

“It was definitely vandalism turned robbery, not robbery turned vandalism,” Whitlock says.

Several video game consoles and a bag of jewelry were taken, and Moonachie police continue to investigate, according to Sgt. Richard Behrens. A Moonachie PD press release stresses that it was an “isolated incident,” and Behrens adds that the area has not been subject to the rash of hate crimes that’s shredding New York City.

“I can’t speak for the whole state,” Behrens says, “but for our municipality, no, we haven’t seen any.”

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Now, Moonachie has one, and the Giants have one, and we all have a high-profile hate crime that shows nobody is safe. And Nikita Whitlock and his family have never felt less safe than they do now, he says, which is why they’re moving in two weeks, chased from a place they called home by the ugly, demented few who wanted them gone.

Image has been edited to remove profanity.

Image has been edited to remove profanity.

(Courtesy Whitlock family)

Whitlock maintains that most in Moonachie — and the United States — are good people. But an ugly handful can do serious damage, just as it’s done to one NFL player’s psyche.

“The thing about racism is it doesn’t take a whole bunch of racists to spoil a community,” he says. “I don’t believe by any means that the (Moonachie) community is racist, maliciously racist. I just think there’s some bad people here.”

And those bad people have now shattered one more fragile black American’s dream, while a president-elect keeps standing idly by and tweeting nonsense about Saturday Night Live. Massive white sheets are currently draped over the hate speech now decorating Whitlock’s home, hiding it from Nikita II and daughter Averie, but one day, Whitlock says, he’ll have to tell his children this story, show them the harsh reality of racism in America.

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And never again will Nikita Whitlock not set up a home security system in his house.

“Never. Never,” he says. “And it’s not so much because I think the world is a bad place. This has taught me that no matter who you are or where you are, you are subject to this.”

Because, right now, in America, for Nikita Whitlock and so many other minorities, there is no such thing as home.

Tags:
nfl
new york giants
nikita whitlock
racial injustice
donald trump
hate crimes
ku klux klan

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