Staying at an Airbnb. Falling asleep in the common area while studying for finals. Playing a round of golf. Touring wine country. Doing a home appraisal as a real estate investor. Grilling in the park. Sitting at a Starbucks while you wait on a friend. What do these seemingly mundane activities all have in common? They are a punishable offense if you’re black. You can add buying a home for your mother-in-law to the list of innocent activities black people can not participate in without undue harassment. Former NFL player Kellen Winslow, Jr. learned that the hard way. Winslow was recently arrested on burglary charges and his NFL fame did nothing to help him.
As reported by the San Diego Union-Tribune, Winslow was looking for a home for his mother-in-law when he was suddenly surrounded by police. Unbeknownst to him at the time, a concerned white neighbor called police because a black guy was in the neighborhood staking out homes in Encinitas, California. Surely he had to be up to no good. He’s black.
NBC News reports that a resident of the mobile home park called police and said that a black man walked into a neighbor’s home and he confronted Winslow because he “did not recognize him as being a resident who lived there.”
San Diego County Sheriff’s deputies stopped Winslow as he drove by and arrested him. The sheriff’s department did not offer any further details surrounding the arrest and the allegations leading up to the arrest. The tight end was charged with first-degree burglary and released from jail on $50,000 bail.
Winslow refuted claims that he had any malicious intent and stuck to his story of house-hunting for the in-law. Winslow’s publicist released a statement saying, “Mr. Winslow emphatically denies committing any burglary. He would have no need to burglarize or steal anything from anyone at a trailer park. He looks forward to being vindicated once this matter is fully investigation and adjudicated through the court system.”
According to Latest, an LA-based activist and journalist, Jasmyne Cannick, relates the NFL player’s arrest to recent cases where white people have called police on black people for the “most harmless thing”. She said that this could be yet another example of the absurdity that has come to the forefront under the Trump administration.
If convicted, Winslow faces up to six years in prison.