Here’s Why Pro Athletes Are Speaking Out on Trump’s Locker Room Comment
Donald Trump has been facing non-stop backlash
for his entire life since this past weekend when a truly nauseating and infuriating video of him bragging to then-Access Hollywood host Billy Bush about sexually assaulting women was obtained and released by The Washington Post. His quick “apology” was typically defensive and deflective.
At Sunday night’s second presidential debate, Trump not only at times appeared physically intimidating to Hillary Clinton, but further tried to brush off the comments that even his wife has publicly denounced by saying they were just “locker-room talk.” Meanwhile, former Celebrity Apprentice contestant Maria Kanellis says she was fired by Trump for so-called locker room talk.
One bonus — if you could call if that — to this fiasco is that Trump’s comments have spawned a lot of real talk about sexual violence. And they’ve also elicited a response from an unlikely source: professional athletes.
A growing number of (so far primarily male) pro athletes who have spent more than enough time in locker rooms are speaking out against Trump’s dismissal, telling him, basically, nice try. Former Kansas City Royals second baseman Frank White pretty bluntly says that “Bragging about getting away with sexually assaulting women because you’re famous is not ‘locker room talk,'” with former NBA player Kendall Marshall echoing his statement.
Portland Trail Blazers’ CJ McCollum says he hasn’t heard that kind of talk in ANY locker rooms; Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Doolittle agrees.
NFL player Jacob Tamme makes the point that trying to normalize Trump’s comments as any kind of “talk” other than wrong is a huge part of the problem.
The WNBA’s Connecticut Sun forward Chiney Ogwumike also weighed in, saying in her experience, locker room talk is actually a foundation for inspiring the team on an athletic level. “Speaking from my limited perspective of being a female, I can say that that was not my locker room nor the locker rooms of male counterparts that I know. Instead of stereotyping the locker room as a place of ‘What happens in the locker room, stays in the locker room,’ instead great teams build a foundation of discipline, camaraderie and mutual respect there. The locker room should not be tied to an environment of trash talk.”
Meanwhile, at the WNBA Finals, Minnesota Lynx coach Cheryl Reeve said Trump’s comments have underlined an ongoing problem. “He was trying to say, ‘It’s what men do.’ And that to me is the inherent problem,” she said. “It IS what men do. Let’s not have all these men stand up and say, ‘Well, we don’t do that!’ … Donald Trump’s candidacy has shined the light on so many problems that exist that I always talk about. He is the epitome of all these things. He’s not alone. It is behavior that’s been accepted for years.”
What do you think of athletes taking back the locker room, so to speak? Let us know over @BritandCo.
(Featured photo via Alex Wong/Getty)