FLORENCE, Ky. -- James Wilder Jr., a practice squad running back for the Cincinnati Bengals, says he was racially profiled and kicked out of a Toys R Us store while Christmas shopping Monday.
Wilder, 23, said that, just a few minutes after he got to the Florence store, a manager confronted him and claimed Wilder tried to steal a cart full of toys earlier in the day.
"Calls us to the front, calls the sheriff," Wilder said in a Facebook video. "Now I'm sitting up here at the front. Messed up my whole shopping process, messed up my day 'cause we in Kentucky Toys R Us and they say I want to steal, like I got a reason to steal."
Trying to Christmas shop for my family and I get Accused of stealing at toy r us a full basket of toys n said I was here earlier left n came back to steal more even though I walked in less than 5 min ago...I ask to look at cameras to show him he obviously has me mistaken he says no come to the front calls cops it happens to be 4 all white cops come in and kicks me out saying he doesn't want me here shopping in disturbing his customers when I was minding my business and he came up to to me disturbing my shopping...I was publicly humiliated, offended and embarrassed with people recording the whole situation as if I was really trying to steal because of the manager MIKE BOILING decides to be racist toward me!!!!!
Posted by James J-dub Wilder on Monday, December 21, 2015
Wilder wrote he asked to review footage from earlier Monday to prove he wasn't the man in question; instead, he wrote he was asked to come to the front of the store while police were called, then told to leave.
The situation left him "publicly humiliated, offended and embarrassed," Wilder wrote, and he accused the manager of racially profiling him.
I'm going over n beyond to make sure this guy is fired!!!! I won't even blame the whole store for his racist profiling!!!!
— James Wilder Jr (@IAm_Wilder32) December 21, 2015
A supervisor at the Florence store declined to comment Monday night. A statement from the company's corporate communications team said: "We are currently looking into this matter."
Florence police Capt. Tom Grau said they were called to the store because management wanted Wilder to leave. Grau said such calls are fairly common. There was a "verbal altercation" between Wilder and an employee, Grau said. Two officers arrived and spoke with both sides and asked Wilder to leave. He left, then came back in to get the manager's name. The manager gave his name and Wilder left for good, Grau said. There were no charges filed, no incident report written and no further investigation.
Wilder signed with Bengals as college free agent after playing for Florida State. His father, James Curtis Wilder Sr., was also an NFL running back, spending his career with the Tampa Bay Buccaneers, the Washington Redskins and the Detroit Lions.