Following the bombshell of the released tape that revealed Donald Trump openly bragging about sexually assaulting women, and his casual dismissal of it during last night’s debate—he repeatedly called it “locker room talk”—professional athletes have taken to Twitter to reject Trump’s attempts to normalize his disgusting comments.
Los Angeles Clippers guard Jamal Crawford, Portland Trailblazers guard CJ McCollum, L.A. Galaxy midfielder Robbie Rogers, Oakland A’s pitcher Sean Doolittle, former Minnesota Vikings punter Chris Kluwe, Cleveland Cavaliers forward Dahntay Jones, Philadelphia 76ers guard Kendall Marshall, UFC mixed martial artist CM Punk, L.A. Clippers forward Blake Griffin, retired NBA center Jason Collins, former Olympic hurdler Queen Harrison, Kansas City Chiefs wide receiver Chris Conley and Atlanta Falcons tight end Jacob Tamme all tweeted responses to Trump’s profoundly ignorant remarks. You’ll find some of those tweets below.
Kluwe, an outspoken former NFL player, wrote an open letter to Trump published on Vox. In the letter, he describes what NFL players actually talk about in the locker room. Among the subjects are their families, the places they want to travel, about money and debt, and about women (romantically, sexually and non-sexually). Kluwe writes at one point:
We talk about jokes. Clean jokes, dirty jokes, jokes that are in between. Hell, I made a joke about Penn State that got me in trouble years later, because someone thought I was attacking the victims instead of the institution that allowed such depravity to happen. You know what I did? I apologized. I said I was sorry. I didn’t apologize with “if your feelings were hurt by it”; I didn’t try to deflect it by attacking someone else, or their spouse; I didn’t lie to an entire nation on live TV and say, “Nope, that never happened.” I simply said, “I’m sorry, I made a mistake, I’m accountable, I’ll do better next time.”
See, that’s another big thing we talk about in the locker room. Accountability. In a professional sports environment, all of us are accountable to each other. We’re a team. If one of us messes up on the field, it affects everyone. Just like if a president makes a bad decision, it affects everyone. And do you know, Donald, the only way the team wins games? The only way we win is if, in the locker room, we’re willing to accept that accountability, address our mistakes, and work as hard as we possibly can to make sure those mistakes don’t happen again.
Of course, the institution of the NFL is far, far, far away from a good example of proper sexual conduct and responsible masculinity, but Kluwe’s scathing letter is definitely worth a read.
The huge backlash following Trump’s dismissal of his “apology” is certainly hurting his standing with his last remaining moderate conservative supporters. The way Trump dismissed his previous comments reveals something much more sinister about his character and the deeply entrenched issue of rape culture in America. Referring to his comments as “locker room talk” normalizes sexual assault and asserts it as something that’s okay to do, say, or even think. And that’s about as far from okay as Trump is from reality.