Suspended USC receiver Munir McClain, his brother and Trojans linebacker Abdul-Malik McClain and their mother Shan will hold a news conference outside of Galen Center on Sunday calling for Munir’s immediate reinstatement to the football team.
The news conference will feature “members of the USC football team who will speak up in support of Munir in defiance of USC coach Clay Helton,” according to a release from Najee Ali, a local civil rights activist and director of Project Islamic Hope. It's not clear if any other USC football players have committed to be at the event.
Helton refused to comment on McClain’s suspension when it was first announced last week. Since then, USC players have been questioned on campus about Munir by federal agents.
McClain was suspended from the team on Sept. 18, two days after Michael Blanton, the university’s vice president of ethics and professionalism, questioned the sophomore about what he knew about unemployment benefits. McClain had filed for the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance program over the summer and received money from the state.
Blanton later told Shan that a complaint had been filed about students being approached with a plan to apply for unemployment benefits.
A month later, with McClain still away from the team, federal agents arrived on USC’s campus to question other players. One of those players was Abdul-Malik, who lives in a campus dormitory with Munir. Two investigators came to their dorm on Tuesday morning and found only Munir, who, since his suspension, has not been questioned by USC or agents from the Office of the Investigator General.
USC said in a statement Thursday night that it was “cooperating with authorities.”
The McClains, along with Ali, say that Munir was not given proper due process by the university and that university officials refused to meet with them.
“Munir along with his mother Shan have both stated he has done nothing illegal to warrant a suspension,” the news release read. “Student athletes like Munir McClain are struggling to make ends meet during this global pandemic and are being unfairly punished by USC officials for receiving funds from the Pandemic Unemployment Assistance Program which Munir applied for and was able to receive because he qualified for it.
“Munir his family and teammates are refusing to stay silent and be treated as if there [sic] on a slave plantation.”
This story originally appeared in Los Angeles Times.