LeBron James labels Donald Trump's sexual assault comments 'trash talk' not 'locker room talk'

'We don't disrespect women,' says one of America's most celebrated athletes

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The Independent Online

From playing basketball since Primary School to becoming one of America’s most celebrated athletes, LeBron James has been partial to his fair share of locker room banter. As such, he is more well-placed than most to assess whether Donald Trump’s dismissal his comments about grabbing women “by the p***y” equate to run-of-the-mill “locker room” banter.

Much to the dismay of many of his fellow Republicans and the wider world, on Friday, a leaked tape from 2005 surfaced in which Mr Trump could be heard bragging about groping and making unwanted advances on women. Speaking to Access Hollywood host Billy Bush in the recording, Mr Trump boasts about making a pass at a married woman before noticing the soap opera actress Arianne Zucker who he then lewdly objectifies.

“I better use some Tic Tacs just in case I start kissing her," Mr Trump said. "You know I’m automatically attracted to beautiful – I just start kissing them. It’s like a magnet. Just kiss. I don’t even wait. And when you’re a star they let you do it. You can do anything […] Grab them by the p****. You can do anything".

The Cleveland Cavaliers basketball player has warned that this is not in anyway reflective of his own experience of locker room talk.

“What is locker room talk to me? It's not what that guy said,” LeBron told reporters. “We don't disrespect women.”

“That never comes up,” he continued. “Obviously I’ve got a mother-in-law, a wife, a mum and a daughter and those conversations just don’t go on in our locker room."

James explained that in his locker room, talk centred on sports highlights from the previous night, game strategies and family.

“What that guy was saying,” James said of Mr Trump. “That's not - I don't know what that is. That's trash talk.”

After the footage was unearthed, Mr Trump initially attempted to dismiss the obscene and degrading comments as nothing more than "locker room" banter but later issued a scripted 90-second long apology for the remarks. Nevertheless, when probed about the comments during the second presidential debate on Sunday night, Mr Trump repeatedly described them as “locker room talk”. 

In recent days, a number of other prominent athletes, such as Sean DooLittle, Jacob Tamme and Brett Anderson, have come forward to rebuke Mr Trump's comparison to "locker room" chat.