You probably figured as soon as Donald Trump blamed his sexual exploit talk on “locker room talk” that former Minnesota Viking Chris Kluwe would weigh in on life in the Vikings locker room to set him straight.
This afternoon, Kluwe wrote on Vox:
We talk about women (and sex!). We talk about wives, sisters, mothers, daughters, fans, and groupies. Most guys respect women, some guys don’t, but never have I heard anyone use your particularly disgusting brand of sadism that refers to women as objects and not people. Even the most debauched club-hopping party animal talks about women more civilly than you. We don’t let each other talk like that about women, because it lessens our humanity, and even though we’re modern-day gladiators, we still hold ourselves accountable to the idea of basic human decency.
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.
For the record, Kluwe was on the Vikings team whose players rented two boats on Lake Minnetonka, and flew prostitutes in from Arizona and Florida to perform sex acts during the floating debauchery. Who are we to say what actually gets talked about in the locker room but a head coach got fired in that season precisely because there was no accountability in the organization.