Victor Cruz speaks out after racist graffiti found at teammate's home

ByJordan Raanan ESPN logo
Friday, December 9, 2016

EAST RUTHERFORD, N.J. -- Giants wide receiver Victor Cruz said Thursday that he views the racist graffiti drawn during a break-in of the home of teammate Nikita Whitlock as a reflection of the current state of the country.

Police in Moonachie, New Jersey, are investigating the Tuesday night robbery, during which burglars drew a swastika and "KKK," as well as the word "Trump," on walls inside Whitlock's home.

The incident is being investigated as a hate crime,Moonachie police Sgt. Richard Behrens told The Record.

On Thursday, Cruz spoke out against what happened.

"I think it's definitely a direct reflection of how this country is being run and how this country is reacting maybe to some of the decisions and some of the ways that this country is being run and the things that are being said by the people at [the] helm of this country and at the helm of our day-to-day lives," the veteran Giants receiver said.

"From social media all the way up to the White House, 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 that we're going through right now."

Cruz thinks Tuesday's incident at Whitlock's home reflects the mindset of people who support President-elect Donald Trump.

"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. I'm not sure that person is always a positive-minded person, if you know what I mean. You've just got 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 is safe and give them the knowledge that they need to stay safe in this world."

Cruz doesn't think all Trump supporters fit into that category; he said some likely just wanted change while others wanted a businessman in charge of the country.

After the presidential election, Cruz made it known that he wasn't a Trump fan. The former Pro Bowl receiver made that even clearer Thursday.

"You can't think of anything that that person that follows Donald Trump -- that they're going to do something positive," Cruz said. "And for someone to vandalize someone's house and write Trump's name or whatever they wrote on the walls, it's just proving that exact fact that I'm saying -- that people that may follow him aren't necessarily the most positive people in our community."

Cruz seemed unfazed by potential backlash from his politically based comments.

"That's fine with me," he said. "I'm comfortable with that. I'm comfortable with people's reactions to that. That's my opinion, that's my mindset, that's the way I think, so I'm not upset at anybody else that thinks otherwise."

For Cruz, a native of Paterson, New Jersey, which is about 10 miles northwest of Moonachie, the incident at Whitlock's house hit home.

"Absolutely. That's what is most shocking to me about this specific incident with Nikita Whitlock," Cruz said. "It's just 20 minutes from where I grew up. This could have easily happened in Paterson. It could have easily happened in Clifton or Passaic or Lyndhurst even for that matter. This could have happened anywhere.

"To see something like that happen around here and to happen the way that it did -- breaking into a home, the vandalism ... Nikita has children. He's got to explain that to his children. Not just right now. Five years from now, 10 years from now when they ask, 'Hey, dad, remember when that happened?' They have to answer those questions. He has to answer those questions to his children. It's unfortunate. No one should have to go through that."

Whitlock served a 10-game ban earlier this season for violating the league's policy on performance-enhancing substances. He is currently on injured reserve with a foot injury and hasn't been at the Giants facility on a regular basis. He was not available Thursday to address the incident.

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