Do you care that the Chargers are now based in Orange County, even though they’re going to play their games in Carson and go by the Los Angeles Chargers? Me neither, especially since that means the odious Spanos family that owns the NFL team is now sliming its way around OC society circles. But I can’t help but to pay attention now after a bombshell interview nose tackle Brandon Mebane gave to the Los Angeles Daily News (sister paper to the Orange County Register) in which the Super Bowl winner alleges he and his teammates are facing discrimination in Orange County for being African-American.
Mebane told Daily News reporter Ryan Kartje that he and other teammates have faced housing discrimination, in Irvine and Newport Beach, even after willing to put down advance rents of up to a year. “But you can’t tell a person they can’t come in your neighborhood because they’re black; that’s against the law,” Mebane said. “They don’t actually say those types of things. But they’ll point out things…The neighborhood was brand new. There were no black families there.”
The veteran also claimed he and his wife were “subject to similar microaggression, as a security guard not-so-subtly followed them for the entirety of their time,” at a Louis Vutton store, per Kartje. “People tell me it’s not true,” Mebane concluded, “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.”
Now, I can already hear the whines and gnashing of teeth by a bunch of Orange Countians who say racism doesn’t exist here, and that Mebane and his teammates are a bunch of Black Lives Matter snowflakes. And I’ll give this much: if there’s one group of African-Americans that OC tends to unconditionally love, it’s pro athletes. Anthony Davis continues to be a demigod in Newport Beach because he scored six touchdowns in one game for USC against the Notre Dame Fighting Irish. Dana Pointers love to tell anyone who’ll listen that Magic Johnson owns a home in the city. And we’re all just waiting until Kobe Bryant decides to run for political office before we elect him our official king.
Then again, I can’t help but to remember an anecdote a sports reporter pal of mine once told me about a former baseball All-Star. When the Halos hosted the Midsummer Classic in 2010, per my pal, stadium personnel angrily asked an African-American pre-teen what was he doing in the seats behind home plate. It was the All-Star player’s son. Stay classy, OC!