Race attacks on NFL players highlight growing hate crimes following US election13 December 2016


On 6 December, New York Giants fullback Nikita Whitlock said burglars scrawled racist graffiti that included a swastika, the letters “KKK”, the word “Trump and the phrase “Go back to Africa” when they broke into his New Jersey home.

Three days later Denver Broncos linebacker Brandon Marshall took to Instagram to share hate mail he received two weeks previously that used racist language and threatened his life.

Marshall, who joined 49ers quarterback Colin Kaepernick‘s protest movement during the national anthem over the treatment of black people in the US, wrote on Instagram: “The hatred by some against people of color is one of the reasons we are where we’re at in the world today and they wonder why we feel the way we do and take the stances that we take”.

The two incidents are amongst the most high profile examples of a wave of racist and xenophobic abuse that has been noted after the US presidential election.

During an interview with the MSNBC, Nikita Whitlock said: “I have strong opinions about the president-elect but I don’t like that they used him as something to hide behind. If they want to write any name, this is your opinion, this was your decision.”

After the election of Donald Trump, reports of acts of racism and xenophobia have become common place in the US.

Figures released by the FBI show that in the year to November 2016 hate crimes were up by 6% across the US, with an increase of 67% in hate crimes against Muslims. The peak of the attacks have come in the period after the election.

The Southern Poverty Law Center created a web page a few days after the election to funnel the reports, and received more than 200 within 24 hours. They included spray painted Swastikas, the word ’Trump’ and Neo-nazi slogans relating Trump to Hitler (‘Heil Trump’), the use of Confederate flags and the general promotion of white supremacy.

“The 2016 campaign has regularised racism, standardised anti-Semitism, and mainstreamed misogyny,” Cornell William Brooks, head of the National Association for the Advancement of Colored People (NAACP), said in a statement after Trump’s win.

Sep 18, 2016; Denver, CO, USA; Denver Broncos inside linebacker Brandon Marshall (54) kneels during the National Anthem prior to the game against the Indianapolis Colts at Sports Authority Field at Mile High. Mandatory Credit: Isaiah J. Downing-USA TODAY Sports / Reuters Picture Supplied by Action Images (TAGS: Sport American Football NFL)

Picture Supplied by Action Images