Chargers Players Willing To Pay 12 Months Rent In Advance Denied Housing Because They Were Black
Los Angeles Chargers nose tackle Brandon Mebane is a millionaire who also has a 800+ credit score, but none of that mattered when he and his wife filled out a rental application. Despite offering to pay rent six months in advance, they were turned away, and Mebane believes their race had a lot to do with it.
“Now 32, one season into a three-year, $13.5 million deal, Mebane was homeward bound. Teammates lamented leaving San Diego. But as his career entered its twilight, Mebane warmed to the idea of playing in L.A. “It felt like everything was coming full circle,” he said.
So he and his wife, Amena, applied to rent a new house in Irvine, near the Chargers facility and next to a park, where their son and daughter could play. The home felt like a dream; they spent hours perfecting their rental application, ensuring it would come true. There were glowing references and a sterling credit score. They offered to pay six months of rent, in advance, just to sweeten the deal, and Amena spent an entire afternoon crafting a cover letter. The realtor told her it was “the best application I’ve seen.”
A few days later, it was denied. To Mebane, the implication was clear.
“We weren’t welcome in that neighborhood.”
“They chose somebody else because their credit score was four points higher,” Mebane said. “When your credit score is in the 800s, it’s pretty much a wash. But you can’t tell a person they can’t come in your neighborhood because they’re black; that’s against the law. They don’t actually say those types of things. But they’ll point out things like those four points. The neighborhood was brand new. There were no black families there.”
Other teammates, he says, have faced similar discrimination in Orange County, where, per the most recent census, African-Americans comprised a minuscule 1.5 percent of the population. One of Mebane’s teammates offered a year’s worth of rent up front on a home in Newport Beach, only to be denied at the last minute, with no explanation. Another was told pets were allowed, “then, they find out the family is black and decide they weren’t accepting pets.
On a recent trip to a nearby Louis Vuitton store, Mebane says he and his wife were again subject to similar microaggression, as a security guard not-so-subtly followed them for the entirety of their time in the store.
“People tell me it’s not true,” Mebane says, “but they don’t understand what it’s like to be black in America. The only way we can move on and hear each other is by talking about this.”
Just one of many reasons why Colin Kaepernick kneeled in protest of the National Anthem all last year.