Since the 2005 tape of Donald Trump’s lewd comments to former Access Hollywood host Billy Bush surfaced on Friday, the Trump campaign has tried to spin and defend by claiming it’s “locker room talk.” And again during Sunday’s Presidential debate with Hillary Clinton, Trump used the term when defending his comment of grabbing a woman’s genitals.

Some athletes have already denounced the Trump explanation and now reporters are joining the chorus who question the “locker room talk” term.

Sally Jenkins of the Washington Post who has covered several sports and has been in locker rooms says it’s ridiculous to paint a broad brush:

But what exactly constitutes “locker room talk,” anyway? What are the parameters of this secret dog whistle of conversation? The fact is, it doesn’t exist. Trump’s fantasy of a locker room is contradicted and proved ridiculous the minute you actually step into a real one. There are a range of characters and voices in that all-male haven. Let’s take the NFL as an example, because it’s in-season and has such a reputation for distorted masculinity. Ask some men who have been leaders in NFL locker rooms what they think of Trump’s hot mic tape from “Access Hollywood,” and here is what you get: sneers.

Jenkins adds that nowhere in a locker room is there talk about grabbing a women’s genitals:

Ask guys in the league what they talk about, and they’ll tell you they talk about politics, money, injuries, team problems, union issues.

Erik Brady of USA Today has covered sports for more than 40 years and he said he’s never heard anything similar to what Trump discussed with Billy Bush.

That’s the first thing I told my wife Friday evening when we heard about all this. I wanted her to know this is not how men talk when they’re together. They tell bawdy jokes sometimes. They make unkind comments sometimes. They talk about sexual conquests sometimes. But they simply do not talk about grabbing women by their genitals — bragging about sexual assault in the immunity of their inner sanctums.

It’s possible, I suppose, that athletes speak like this when reporters are not around. If they do, and teammates allow it to pass, they are no better than Bush, quietly complicit in a culture of malignant misogyny. But I simply don’t believe locker rooms are home to the sort of tawdry, repugnant, malevolent antagonism on display in that recording.

Both Jenkins and Brady point out that what Trump said is not only demeaning to women, but also to men as well.

The fact that Trump has tried to dismiss his comments by labeling it as “locker room talk,” he has not only alienated athletes, reporters and those who have been in locker rooms for years.

[Washington Post 1, 2/USA Today]

About Ken Fang

Ken has been covering the sports media in earnest at his own site, Fang's Bites since May 2007 and at Awful Announcing since March 2013.

He provides a unique perspective having been an award-winning radio news reporter in Providence and having worked in local television.

Fang celebrates the four Boston Red Sox World Championships in the 21st Century, but continues to be a long-suffering Cleveland Browns fan.

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