Unless you’ve been under a rock for the past 72 hours, you’ve heard the phrase “locker room banter” about 1000 times. The phrase is part of a statement that ends with the words, “I apologize if anyone was offended”. At the risk of getting political, or kicking a man while he’s down, it’s hard to imagine there’s anyone who wasn’t offended by the video we’ve all watched.
But here’s the thing — out of all the offensive things we heard on that tape, there’s one that might have gone unnoticed. It might not be near the top of the list of offensive comments made, but I was offended by the implication that such talk belongs in a locker room. As a coach of young men, in a sports culture that has been plagued by males’ mistreatment of females, I believe we have an obligation to model and directly teach respect for women.
There is no place in our world for the objectification of females. The notion that such talk is appropriate in a locker room is damaging to us all, women and men alike. Imagine the good that would result from raising a generation of males (including male athletes) who are taught to treat all people (including females) with the utmost of respect. Our locker rooms should not be a breeding ground for misogyny, but rather of love, integrity and honor. As coaches, we have the opportunity and obligation to move the conversation in that direction.