Controversial Commencement Speech by Kansas City Chiefs Kicker Prompts Backlash

Harrison Butker, a kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, is being blasted online for a commencement speech he gave at Benedictine College in Kansas last weekend, during which he railed against abortion rights and told women they should embrace being homemakers.

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Butker, who has made his conservative Catholic beliefs known in the past, began his address by attacking what he called “dangerous gender ideologies” in an apparent reference to Pride month.

During the speech at the private Catholic liberal arts college, Butker spoke about his “traditional Catholic values.” The 28-year-old, three-time Super Bowl champion also railed against President Joe Biden‘s leadership during the pandemic and called out what he said was Biden’s hypocrisy for being Catholic while supporting access to abortion rights, calling him “delusional.”

“While COVID might have played a large role throughout your formative years, it is not unique,” he said. “The bad policies and poor leadership have negatively impacted major life issues. Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for the degenerate cultural values and media all stem from pervasiveness of disorder.”

“Our own nation is led by a man who publicly and proudly proclaims his Catholic faith, but at the same time is delusional enough to make the sign of the cross during a pro-abortion rally,” he said of the president.

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But the most controversial part of the 20-minute speech came later, when Butker addressed the women in the audience, arguing that their “most important title” should be that of “homemaker.”

“I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolic lies told to you,” Butker said. “Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world. I can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabelle would be the first to say that her life truly started when she started living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.

FILE – Harrison Butker #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs celebrates on the field with his wife, Isabelle, after defeating the Tennessee Titans in the AFC Championship Game at Arrowhead Stadium on Jan. 19, 2020 in Kansas City, Mo.

Tom Pennington / Getty Images

“I’m on this stage today and able to be the man I am because I have a wife who leans into her vocation.

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“All of my success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school would convert to the faith, become my wife and embrace one of the most important titles of all: homemaker,” he said while choking back tears.

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He also went off on an anti-LGBTQ2 rant, taking aim at Pride month while advocating for a more conservative brand of Catholicism.

“Not the deadly sins sort of Pride that has an entire month dedicated to it, but the true God-centred pride that is co-operating with the holy ghost to glorify him,” he told the audience.

He also told male graduates to “be unapologetic in your masculinity,” and to “fight against the cultural emasculation of men.”

And while trying to emphasize one talking point, where he criticized Catholic priests who do not adequately lead their parishes, he dropped a Taylor Swift lyric (Swift is dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce) when discussing how priests can become overly familiar with their “flocks.”

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FILE – Travis Kelce speaks next to kicker Harrison Butker during the press conference on the DFB Campus.

Arne Dedert / picture alliance via Getty Images)

“As my teammate’s girlfriend says, ‘Familiarity breeds contempt,’” he said, citing a line from Swift’s Bejeweledbut omitting the billionaire working singer’s name.

The Chiefs, Butker’s teammates and the NFL Players Association have, so far, remained silent about the speech.

However, the NFL’s chief diversity officer, Jonathan Beane, told ABC News that the league does not share Butker’s opinions.

“Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity,” Beane said in a written statement. “His views are not those of the NFL as an organization. The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

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Former Kansas City commissioner Justice Horn slammed Butker in a post to X, writing, “Harrison Butker doesn’t represent Kansas City nor has he ever. Kansas City has always been a place that welcomes, affirms, and embraces our LGBTQ+ community members.”

He followed up with a personal dig, writing, “being the kicker for a football team isn’t exactly the ‘toughest’ position out there.”

While Butker’s speech was clearly well received by the audience, who clapped and cheered at its conclusion, online he’s received a full dressing down, with people calling his words “misogynistic,” homophobic” and “outdated.”

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Former Monday Night Football sideline reporter Lisa Guerrero urged the NFL to “come get your boy.”

Others noted that Butker’s own mother was not a homemaker, but rather a physicist working in radiation oncology.

A post from OutSports said, “One of the worst parts of this NFL player’s awful speech is that he quoted a Taylor Swift song before telling women they should be homemakers and serve their man’s career.”

OutSports writer Cyd Ziegler chimed in, “If you’re a woman cheering for the Kansas City @Chiefs, their ‘idiot kicker’ thinks you will be most happy serving him in the kitchen.”

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GLAAD president and CEO Sarah Kate Ellis was also sharply critical of Butker’s remarks.

“Traditionally, commencement speeches are meant to celebrate and inspire graduates and their families. Kansas City Chiefs player Harrison Butker’s commencement speech was not only a clear miss, it was inaccurate, ill-informed, and woefully out of step with Americans about Pride, LGBTQ people and women,” Ellis said.

“Those with expansive platforms, especially athletes, should use their voices to uplift and expand understanding and acceptance in the world. Instead, Butker’s remarks undermine experiences not of his own and reveal him to be one who goes against his own team’s commitment to the Kansas City community, and the NFL’s standards for respect, inclusion, and diversity across the League.”

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with files from The Associated Press

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2024-05-15 20:46:54
#NFLs #Harrison #Butker #slammed #urging #women #grads #homemakers #National


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