Moonachie (N.J.) police are investigating a burglary Tuesday night at the home of Giants fullback Nikita Whitlock, who told police that jewelry and home electronics were taken from his apartment and racist graffiti was written on the walls.
Whitlock’s wife, Ashley, told Newsday on Thursday night that police and the FBI are investigating the incident. Moonachie police confirmed in a statement that they are investigating. Northjersey.com reported Thursday that the matter is being investigated as a hate crime.
Ashley Whitlock said five swastikas, the words “Go back to Africa,” several racial slurs and the name “Trump” were written on the wall of a staircase.
“We’re all taken aback by everything,” she said. “The graffiti was more disturbing than anything else. Items can be replaced, but [the graffiti] is stuck in your memory forever. This will definitely be with us forever.”
Ashley Whitlock said her 6-year-old son stayed with neighbors until the couple could have the graffiti removed. She said he is not aware of the graffiti but was upset that his “Wii” video game system was stolen. She said neighbors whose house also was broken into the same night gave their own “Wii” game system to her son.
“Despite all that’s happened, it’s still heartwarming to know that we still have some sort of support here,” she said. “We haven’t been shunned.”
Ashley said the couple planned to move to the Dallas area before the incident occurred.
Nikita Whitlock, who was placed on injured reserve with a foot injury during the summer, was suspended for 10 games in September for violating the NFL’s policy on performance-enhancing substances. Whitlock is not eligible to play this season because he was put on injured reserve before making the opening-day 53-man roster. He was unavailable for comment.
“It’s still very shocking to me to know that this happened,” Ashley said. “My husband has experienced his own, more personal race-related incidents before, but I have never been a victim of any kind of race crime, so it’s definitely something I’m not expecting. It shows racism is definitely here. You can’t hide from it. It doesn’t matter who you are. People still have hate for different races and different people. It’s just so sad when it’s so close to home. It happened where my family eats, where my family sleeps. It’s very difficult.”
Jocelyn Benson, CEO of the Ross Initiative in Sports for Equality (RISE), said in a statement, “We were saddened and furious to hear about the break-in and acts of racism that occurred at Nikita Whitlock’s home Tuesday evening. We are grateful no one was harmed. However, we must put a stop to acts of violence stemming from racism. There is no place for hate or discrimination in our country against anyone because of the color of their skin.”