Seattle Seahawks defensive end Michael Bennett is “irate” about the misogynistic comments made by GOP presidential candidate Donald Trump 2005 and Trump’s decision to diminish what he said by calling it “locker room talk.”
During a recorded conversation with Access Hollywood’s Billy Bush in 2005, the audio of which was recently released, Trump made several lewd comments about women suggesting that his wealth and influence gave him license to commit sexual assault.
“And when you’re a star they let you do it,” Trump says on the audio. “You can do anything.”
He later apologized “if anyone was offended,” and dismissed the entire conversation as being “locker room banter.”
These comments did not sit well with Bennett.
“As a parent of daughters, I felt like I was irate,” Bennett said, according to Tim Booth of the Associated Press.
Bennett went on to say that he would not categorize these comments as “locker room talk.”
“I don’t know if that’s locker room talk, though,” Bennett said. “That was kind of crazy, to be talking about a woman like that. Women are so important. Without a woman, none of us would be here. So you can’t disrespect women at all.”
Bennett also took issue with Trump’s assertion that his celebrity meant he could do whatever he liked with women.
“I don’t think anybody goes out of their way to go out and disrespect women in that type of way or feels that because of their situation that they can disrespect women, that because you are a superstar you can get away with that,’’ Bennett said, according to Bob Condotta of the Seattle Times. “That’s not true. You’ve got to treat people right and treat women with respect.”
Bennett is just one of several professional athletes who have taken exception with Trump’s “locker room talk” excuse.
Former Vikings punter Chris Kluwe wrote an open letter to Donald Trump correcting Trump’s stance that this exchange was “locker room banter.” Kluwe spent eight years in an NFL locker room, and he said that based on this experience, he is convinced this is not the way most men speak about women.
Kluwe also spent four seasons in the locker room with convicted serial rapist Darren Sharper in Minnesota. Kluwe said that not even Sharper, who is serving a 20-year sentence for drugging and raping women in four different states, had used language in the locker room that was demeaning to women.
“Oh, sure, we had some dumb guys, and some guys I wouldn't want to hang out with on any sort of regular basis, but we never had anyone say anything as foul and demeaning as you did on that tape,” Kluwe said, “and, hell, I played a couple years with a guy who later turned out to be a serial rapist. Even he never talked like that.”
Bennett said that he and his Seahawks teammates are focused on the upcoming election and are concerned about its eventual result, and not just because of what Trump said about women.
“In the locker room it’s a conversation, because everybody wants to know,” Bennett said. “Because everybody that’s paying attention to what is going on in this point in time, we want to see how the country is going to change with all the racism and things going on in America.”
Bennett expressed concern that the United States will end up with “a president that doesn’t understand the people.”