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What ‘Locker Room Talk’ Means to Athletes and Fraternity Brothers

It was recently revealed in a 10-year-old leaked tape that Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump used extremely lewd and chauvinistic language in descirbing his feelings about women. Rightfully so, millions of people have taken great offense to Trump’s sexist and entitled remarks, that of which he has written off as “locker room talk,” appropirate and normal banter that gentlemen use in private when discussing their female counterparts. However, in discussing his thoughts on groping women without their consent, the “locker room” title has proven to be an innappropriate justification, and a true judgment of character. It has also upset many athletes who won’t stand for being associated with such a label. Undoubtedly, private conversations are reflexive of conversations we wouldn’t have in public. Friends tell each other things in confidence that, if overheard, may be embarassing and frowned upon. But did Trump’s commentary cross the line?

We reached out to Chapman University fraternity members and collegiate male athletes for their thoughts on Trump’s statements, and what they actually consdier to be locker room talk. 

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Statement from Delta Tau Delta fraternity

“The Iota Epsilon chapter of Delta Tau Delta in no way, shape, or form condones the guise of ‘locker room talk’ as a means of making

, sexist, and objectifying comments towards women.”

Christopher Costa, a sophomore member of the Phi Kappa Tau fraternity

“In reaction to Trump’s comments from his ‘locker room’ days, I would like to start off by saying that any man who could try to assuage the absolute atrocity of what he said, is a personal offense to men everywhere. The comments Donald made in that video reflect nothing but overt sexism and the despicable nature of whoever said it. To try and excuse his comments by attributing them to being the way men speak to each other behind closed doors, couldn’t be further from the truth. Do men talk about women in the locker room? Of course. Do men talk about women they find attractive in the ‘locker room’? Of course. But I can personally say that if at any point in my 13 years of playing soccer, I were to hear any one of my teammates call a woman a b***** as if she is just some object to be looked and laughed at, the team would have been on them in a second. I can also say without a doubt, that if any of my fraternity brothers, or “frat bros” as some might know us, had said something like this, they would have some broken bones and a whole lot less brothers by now. Yes, there are men all over the world who disrespect women. Yes, there are locker rooms all over the world where men say things like this. But this is not locker room talk. This is despicable. The sad truth is that there are despicable men just like this who live in our society, but those men will be just as disgusting whether they’re in a locker room or at home. The problem isn’t getting caught saying a terrible thing, the problem is getting caught being a terrible person; that’s what happened here. We’ve seen hundreds if not thousands of athletes from all over the country come forward and speak out against this ‘locker room’ phenomenon. Well, now you have an athlete, as well as a “frat bro” added to the list. There’s no excuse for being a sexist, chauvinist and arrogant millionaire with no regard for women as human beings. Sorry Mr. Trump, but the locker rooms have been talking, and I think the problem is just you.”

Statement from ice hockey team

“While we are not going to endorse one candidate or the other, Mr. Trump’s comments of which he classified as ‘locker room talk’ are in no way a resemblance of what our team discusses in the locker room or finds acceptable. Chapman hockey players have a very strong bond and friendship with one another. With that said, we hold ourselves and one another accountable and do not tolerate behavior, words or comments that are disrespectful to any person whatsoever. ‘Locker room talk’ pertaining to our team undoubtedly involves personal and private matters, just as any group of friends discusses with one another. While we do discuss significant others, girlfriends, love life, etc., the manner in which Mr. Trump used is in no way reflective or similar to what we believe is acceptable or ordinary throughout sports locker rooms. Our leaders and older players have always been at the forefront of making sure we not only represent Chapman in the best way, but teach our younger teammates that things such as respect and kindness are a must. With that said, the type of locker room talk that Mr. Trump refers to is new to us and not something we tolerate or find in any way acceptable.”

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There is a stark contrast between casual conversation amongst friends – which is perfectly acceptable – and suggestive language that stems from a place of misogyny. We believe it’s fair to conclude that Trump’s demeanor coincides with the latter, and it’s reassuring to know that young men understand the importance of treating women with dignity and the respect that they deserve.

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