We almost made it to the season. We almost did. Granted, this ‘offseason’ was a bit longer than than usual offseason, and the USC Trojans did a great job of staying out of the national headlines for anything construed as negative for the most part this offseason. Then, of course, the suspension to sophomore receiver Munir McClain happened.
And then McClain held a press conference asking for reinstatement immediately.
The more everyone begun to dig, the more public it became. And the more details began to emerge.
McClain himself issued a full statement, read aloud at a news conference on Sunday.
“I want to thank My Mom and my family, my fellow Trojan teammates and Najee Ali for their support today and over the past month.
There seem to be a lot of rumors flying around but I want nothing more than to get back to playing with the team.
I can confirm that I received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which Congress passed back in March to help many people who are not eligible for unemployment benefits, such as gig workers, independent contractors, and people with small businesses affected by the pandemic shutdowns.
I applied with the help of a representative from the EDD, the California Employment Development Department, and believe that I did everything right.
I hope that USC will speak to the attorneys who are helping me, Jenna Parker and Mark Hathaway, so I can have a change to get back on the field as soon as possible. Thank you. Please address any questions to Mr. Ali or my mom, Shanrika McClain.”
And now, according to reports from the LA Times, the USC football players are to be questioned under oath regarding the situation surrounding McClain.
The Times obtained a copy of a subpoena given to one of those players, which states that the recipient is required to appear before a grand jury in conjunction with “an official criminal investigation being conducted by the Department of Labor, Office of Inspector General.” The subpoena is signed by Kerry Quinn, an assistant U.S. Attorney in the Major Frauds Section.
The federal investigators on this case are centering their investigation around McClain and as Najee Ali, a local famed civil rights activist said, they’re treating him like he’s part of a criminal enterprise.
“It’s now bigger than Munir,” Ali declared Sunday.
Munir was joined at his makeshift news conference by his brother, Abdul-Malik McClain, as well as other USC players Tyler Vaughns, Courtland Ford and Casey Collier, in a photograph taken by the LA Times.
Coach Clay Helton is set to speak this Monday morning as well.
This continues to be a developing story, and as such, we’ll continue to monitor.
Here’s all the daily links regarding the issue:
Suspended USC WR Munir McClain issues statement | 247Sports
What to make of the Munir McClain situation? | Sports Illustrated