NEW YORK (Reuters) - An National Football League player’s northern New Jersey home was vandalized with a swastika and other racist taunts scrawled on the inside walls during a break-in this week, according to police and photos that the player posted online.
The break-in happened on Tuesday night while Nikita Whitlock, a fullback with the New York Giants, and his family were not at home, police in the borough of Moonachie said.
Photos that Whitlock posted on Instagram showed a broken window, a swastika and a racial epithet for black Americans.
“Racism is real and instead of close to home this time they came inside,” Whitlock wrote on the photo-sharing service. “My family is safe but we are saddened by the hate.”
Whitlock could not immediately be reached for comment on Thursday.
Moonachie police are investigating the vandalism as a bias incident, or hate crime, Sgt. Richard Behrens said. The borough is about 3 miles (5 km) north of the MetLife Stadium, in East Rutherford, New Jersey, the New York City suburb where the Giants play their home games.
“We’re exploring all avenues right now,” Behrens said.
Video of the graffiti from a local CBS affiliate showed other taunts including “KKK,” “Go back to Africa,” and “Trump.”
The number of hate and bias incidents reported across the United States spiked in the days after Republican Donald Trump’s presidential election victory, according to a report released last month by a civil rights advocacy group.
The incidents have included numerous cases of people threatening apparent immigrants with deportation and vandalism deriding black Americans, many of which cited Trump’s victory.
Since his victory, Trump has said he rejects acts of violence or harassment, and disavowed the support of white nationalist groups.
Reporting by David Ingram; Editing by Scott Malone and David Gregorio