Police in Moonachie, New Jersey, told The Record that the break-in happened between 6:30 p.m. and 8:45 p.m. Tuesday evening. Sgt. Richard Behrens said Thursday that the incident is being investigated as a hate crime, as racist graffiti was scrawled on the walls of Whitlock's home.
In addition to "KKK", three swastikas and other racial slurs were written on the walls of Whitlock's home. The word "Trump" was also written on the wall near his staircase.
"It just re-establishes that no matter where you are, no matter who you are, this can happen to you," Whitlock, a black man, told CBS New York.
''They broke in, they vandalized, they shared their opinion -- they could have shared it on Facebook, but they decided to share it in this fashion," the fullback told The Record. "I think the one thing that does disturb me more is the fact that people are using [President-elect Donald] Trump's name. To me, it's like, OK, you believe Trump believes certain things. But he wasn't here. This was a personal decision, not a Trump decision. So next time, write your name on the wall.''
The incident is part of a rising trend of hate crimes that have taken place since the Nov. 8 presidential election. The Southern Poverty Law Center reported 867 incidences of hate crimes (which included only real-world harassment or intimidation and did not include any online incidents) in the 10 days after the election alone, while the New York Police Department reported earlier this week that there has been a 115 percent increase in hate crimes over this time last year.
Nevertheless, Whitlock said his family and friends were shocked that such an incident could happen to him. "I'm one of the last people you think this would happen to," he said. "I'm in a nice area, I make good money, I keep to myself, and I'm not flashy. ... Instead of coming close to home, they came inside. I have a lot of peers and a lot of family and people in my circle who don't believe these kinds of things can happen to them or to me or to us. Everybody thinks, 'Oh wow, that was close to home,' because it was in your town or it was in the city next to you. We're not the only ones affected by this."
In response to the incident, the NFL offered Whitlock a "home security assessment," and a spokesman called the incident, "abhorrent and disappointing," per The Record.