Munir McClain
(Shotgun Spratling/ LA Times)

Much like hundreds of thousands of people across the country, Munir McClain recently applied for Pandemic Unemployment Assistance (PUA). His income source, reselling high-end sneakers, had slowed down significantly since the pandemic, and he thought he qualified. 

Unfortunately, filing for unemployment benefits is not covered by NCAA regulations, and McClain was suspended from the University of Southern California football. Because of California’s labor laws, it has become very confusing as to who does and does not qualify. And McClain is stuck right in the middle of it. 

On Tuesday morning, October 20th,  someone knocked on Munir’s dorm room that he shares with his brother Abdul-Malik. It was a federal agent asking for Munir’s brother. Over the next couple of days, the same thing happened to several other USC football players. The suspension had escalated to a federal investigation. 

On Sunday, October 25th, Munir stood outside of Galen Center and read a prepared statement about the investigation. 

“I can only confirm that I received Pandemic Unemployment Assistance, which Congress passed back in March to help many people who are not eligible for unemployment benefits…” 

In their makeshift press conference, Abdul-Malik McClain, Tyler Vaughns, Cortland Ford, and Spencer Gilbert were among the players who stood behind Munir McClain in solidarity as he made his statement. Munir’s mother, Shan McClain, and local civil rights activist Najee Ali were also with him. 

Munir thought he had done everything right when he applied with a representative of the California Employment Development Department. He expressed his hopefulness to be back on the field shortly and directed questions to his mother and Mr. Ali.  

Several USC football players will be questioned under oath in front of a grand jury in the coming weeks. It is still unclear whether or not the investigation goes further than McClain.