Suspended USC wide receiver Munir McClain, his family, teammates and civil rights leaders will hold a press conference on Sunday “in defiance of Clay Helton.”
USC football almost made it through a wild 2020 offseason without major drama or controversy.
Then redshirt freshman wide receiver Munir McClain was suspended over an apparent investigation by the FBI into his application for unemployment benefits and things went off the rails.
On Saturday, McClain and his family announced they will hold a press conference on Sunday to protest his suspension, using some pretty strong language against head coach Clay Helton.
“The press conference will feature Malik and Munir McClain, 2 Trojan football players who are also brothers, there [sic] mother Shan and members of the USC football team, who will speak up in support of Munir in defiance of USC Coach Clay Helton and call for Munir’s reinstatement to the football team immediately,” Saturday’s press release read.
The full statement accused USC of wrongfully suspending McClain and ignoring requests for a meeting from his mother and a civil rights leader.
Pointedly, the statement highlighted Helton’s multi-million dollar salary, comparing it to McClain’s application for unemployment assistance. They accused the university of treating student-athletes like McClain “as if there [sic] on the slave plantation.”
Munir McClain is taking criticism of his USC suspension public
The problem with all this is the confusion over what exactly McClain did when applying for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which Ryan Kartje of the Los Angeles Times has covered well. The family claims he qualified for those benefits. The FBI clearly has its questions.
McClain and company may be right that the mere existence of the FBI’s investigation doesn’t necessarily warrant a suspension. However, taking a public stance against Helton like this may not be the best way to resolve the issue.
The Trojans have been involved in too many scandals over recent years. The university is extremely wary as a result. It’s doubtful Helton himself is the one making the ultimate decision on a suspension.
In any case, McClain is set to make his case to the public on Sunday.