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Like Peyton Manning, Tom Brady ducked a teachable moment on sexual assault

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October 14, 2016, 7:23 am
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Tom Brady, left, and Donald Trump.

New England Patriots quarterback Tom Brady sidestepped the question of Donald Trump and sexual assault on Wednesday, evading his obligation to women all over the world the way he evades pass-rushers in the pocket (oh wait, he actually doesn’t do that very well … see last year’s AFC Championship Game against the Denver Broncos).

Brady is a friend and supporter of the reality TV star turned Republican presidential candidate, but as a husband and a father of young sons and a daughter, the QB also is a role model who can send a clear message to boys and young men in locker rooms across America that discussing — and in Trump’s and Bill Clinton’s case, possibly engaging in — sexual assault of any kind is unacceptable.

Failure to do so furthers a culture of entitlement in high school locker rooms and on college campuses across America that has led to horrific rapes like the Brock Turner case at Stanford. Professional athletes need to stand up and speak out against that type of behavior or it will continue to spiral out of control in our nation and around the world.

Yes, as a Colorado resident, I am a Broncos fan, but this has nothing to do with my strong dislike of the Patriots — an outstanding franchise that unfortunately feels the constant need to push the boundaries of the league’s rules. I am equal opportunity in my condemnation of anything that smacks of abuse directed toward women, in the locker room, workplace or anywhere in America.

Earlier this year I called on former Denver quarterback Peyton Manning — regardless of what actually happened at the University of Tennessee back in the 90s — to speak out against sexual abuse and the macho environment of entitlement at schools around the nation. He didn’t take my advice, and is instead spending retirement making commercial after commercial. How about just one PSA on how to treat women and girls, Peyton?

Now I’m calling on Broncos cornerback Aqib Talib, who came to Denver from New England, to clarify what he meant when he said, ““Trump may fit in if he came in here, who knows?” If there are players talking and acting like Trump in the Denver locker room, they should be exposed, and Denver executive John Elway, a big backer of the Republican Party, should condemn their behavior and condemn Trump’s comments and actions.

Talib has been a great player for Denver, helping them win the most recent Super Bowl, but he is a knucklehead on and off the field who allegedly shot himself in the leg while intoxicated last off-season. If he’s just spouting off at the mouth, that’s one thing — and he deserves to be slammed for it — but if there’s anything to what he’s saying, it should be investigated fully.

The National Football League also needs to lead on this issue. It has a terrible record of handling domestic violence and spousal abuse cases like the Ray Rice incident, and the league has an opportunity to affect real change in sports and society — something that could have ripple effects across the globe, where the sexual and physical abuse of women is an epidemic that needs to be stamped out and not dismissed as just “locker room” talk.

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David O. Williams

Managing Editor at RealVail
David O. Williams is the editor and co-founder of RealVail.com and has had his awarding-winning work (see About Us) published in more than 75 newspapers and magazines around the world, including 5280 Magazine, American Way Magazine (American Airlines), the Anchorage Daily News (Alaska), the Anchorage Daily Press (Alaska), Aspen Daily News, Aspen Journalism, the Aspen Times, Beaver Creek Magazine, the Boulder Daily Camera, the Casper Star Tribune (Wyoming), the Chicago Tribune, Colorado Central Magazine, the Colorado Independent (formerly Colorado Confidential), Colorado Newsline, Colorado Politics (formerly the Colorado Statesman), Colorado Public News, the Colorado Springs Gazette, the Colorado Springs Independent, the Colorado Statesman (now Colorado Politics), the Colorado Times Recorder, the Cortez Journal, the Craig Daily Press, the Curry Coastal Pilot (Oregon), the Daily Trail (Vail), the Del Norte Triplicate (California), the Denver Daily News, the Denver Gazette, the Denver Post, the Durango Herald, the Eagle Valley Enterprise, the Eastside Journal (Bellevue, Washington), ESPN.com, Explore Big Sky (Mont.), the Fort Morgan Times (Colorado), the Glenwood Springs Post-Independent, the Grand Junction Daily Sentinel, the Greeley Tribune, the Huffington Post, the King County Journal (Seattle, Washington), the Kingman Daily Miner (Arizona), KUNC.org (northern Colorado), LA Weekly, the Las Vegas Sun, the Leadville Herald-Democrat, the London Daily Mirror, the Moab Times Independent (Utah), the Montgomery Journal (Maryland), the Montrose Daily Press, The New York Times, the Parent’s Handbook, Peaks Magazine (now Epic Life), People Magazine, Powder Magazine, the Pueblo Chieftain, PT Magazine, the Rio Blanco Herald Times (Colorado), Rocky Mountain Golf Magazine, the Rocky Mountain News, RouteFifty.com (formerly Government Executive State and Local), the Salt Lake Tribune, SKI Magazine, Ski Area Management, SKIING Magazine, the Sky-Hi News, the Steamboat Pilot & Today, the Sterling Journal Advocate (Colorado), the Summit Daily News, United Hemispheres (United Airlines), Vail/Beaver Creek Magazine, Vail en Español, Vail Health Magazine, Vail Valley Magazine, the Vail Daily, the Vail Trail, Westword (Denver), Writers on the Range and the Wyoming Tribune Eagle. Williams is also the founder, publisher and editor of RealVail.com and RockyMountainPost.com.

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