EAST LANSING, Mich. – Mark Dantonio wasn’t out to make any sort of political statement at his news conference Tuesday, but neither was the Michigan State head coach going to shy away from an uneasy topic.
Dantonio, near the end of the meeting with the media, was asked if he thought it was unfair that all athletes were being cast under the same broad generalization when it comes to “locker room talk.” The term has become a hot button since the release last week of a 2005 “Access Hollywood” video in which Republican presidential nominee Donald Trump is seen and heard talking in explicit language about his sexual exploits.
Trump later apologized for his comments, calling them “locker room talk.”
Several athletes have since come out and denounced the term for what they say is an unfair and untrue characterization of what happens in team locker rooms.
“No, I don’t think it’s fair to paint all of these athletes with a broad brush,” Dantonio said. “I think there are different people and everything else. You look at society right now, and which way are we going? Up or down?”
Dantonio similarly addressed the subject of Michigan State team members holding up raised fists in protest during the national anthem before games. He was asked about the situation and how it pertained to his team. He didn’t dance around a difficult subject.
Dantonio said he does not condone any such language or attitudes in the locker room or on the field.
“I think there are a lot of good people in a lot of locker rooms all over the country. If I hear language coming out of our locker room, then I’m going to correct that language in a positive way. I’m not going to accept it,” Dantonio said. “I think if you come out to our football field, you guys have been out there before, I don’t think you’ll hear our coaches going off in that regard. I don’t think. Not to say that it happens at other places or not, but we’re going to try to handle ourselves in that regard and try to be a – I don’t want to us the word role model , but an example.
“An example for our players. Especially in difficult times.”