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Let’s talk about “locker room talk”

Last week, NBC released a 2005 video featuring Trump suggesting inappropriate behavior and language toward a woman. In response to the controversy, Trump said he was simply using “locker room talk.”

Sadly, many of Trump’s supporters — including women — defended Trump, citing “locker room talk.”

I’m not here to talk about Donald Trump. I’m here to talk about “locker room talk.”

Just like many other guys, I spent a good portion of my middle school and high school years in a locker room. I was never considered a “cool kid” in grade school, so my daily routine involved going to my locker, ignoring all of the other guys around me, changing, going to practice, coming back to the locker room and getting out of there as quickly as possible so I could go home and watch “Reba”.

However, despite my attempts to ignore them, I was not immune to overhearing the other guys’ conversations in the locker room, and can sadly attest to the fact that “locker room talk” is real.

If you asked your average middle school or even high school boy if they knew the reality behind the disgusting comments they made about girls while joking with their friends, they probably wouldn’t know they were committing sexual harassment.

When Donald Trump posted a video trying to cover up his repulsive comments as “locker room talk,” he was justifying the sexist, demeaning and harassing comments men across the nation make each day.

This isn’t to call out Trump, this is to call out every man before Trump who shaped his mind — and just about every other guy’s mind — to think this kind of language is acceptable because it’s made in a joking manner, or because it is just guy talk.

This is to call out every athletic coach who overhears “locker room talk” and either shrugs it off or chooses to ignore it because he used to talk that way too. This is to call out every guy who has ever made a sexual comment about a girl and just laughed it off because it wasn’t said seriously.

The sad part is that “locker room talk” doesn’t end outside of the locker room. It continues in dorm rooms, classrooms, apartments, over text messages, during chapel and intramural games and even in the church building.

This isn’t to take away from the fact that not all athletes participate in locker room talk, and not every coach allows it to happen. But it’s time for guys to start keeping other guys accountable, and furthermore, it’s time for guys to start holding themselves accountable.

Sorry, Trump. Politics aside, I don’t accept your apology for making those comments in 2005 because I don’t accept “locker room talk” as an excuse. I hope that you learn from your mistake and that if you are elected president, you lead the movement to teach young men that “locker room talk” is never acceptable.

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