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Former NBA Player Criticizes Donald Trump's 'Locker Room Talk'


Locker room talk - that's what Donald Trump called his now-notorious comments when he first apologized Friday and again during last night's debate. That doesn't ring true to John Amaechi. He played in the NBA for five seasons.

JOHN AMAECHI: This is a fantasy stereotype of what locker rooms are like generated by somebody who needs something so archaic, something so old-fashioned and something so, you know, tacitly urban and terrifying as to make his comments seem mild. But the truth is that most locker rooms do not have this kind of narrative going on.

SHAPIRO: John Amaechi lives in London now. He played for NBA teams in Cleveland, Utah and Orlando, and he says the locker-room talk went something like this.

AMAECHI: We had conversations that were about politics, that were about the systemic racism, were about the tax advantages of living in Florida as an athlete. These things came first. These were the things that we talked about. Whether in our locker room or in our planes flying across the country, never once did I hear an athlete talk about how they had abused somebody and certainly not with the kind of gleeful pride we heard from Trump.

SHAPIRO: Amaechi says had there ever been that kind of talk...

AMAECHI: There would be absolute silence. And then any leader in the room - unless this was a locker room devoid of leadership, somebody would step up and say, by the way, what you're talking about is abuse. It is not cool.

You can talk about the fact that you sleep with lots of people, whether they be men or women frankly. You can have that conversation because when there is consent in this environment, people can understand that. And then you can, if you want to, have a degree of levity about it.

But what people seem to forget is that what we're talking about here is not consensual. And I just don't know any of the people that I've played with who would look at that in any other way than with utter contempt.

SHAPIRO: That's former NBA player John Amaechi on what exactly is and is not talked about in locker rooms. Transcript provided by NPR, Copyright NPR.