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Chiefs’ Harrison Butker under fire for trying to kick women back into the last century

Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker really put his foot in his mouth.

Butker used his platform as a three-time Super Bowl champion to deliver a Benedictine College commencement speech packed with anti-LGBTQ, anti-abortion and sexist diatribe.

The kicker, who is Catholic, condemned Pride month; described abortion as “the murder of innocent babies”; and pontificated about women prioritizing the role of homemaker during his 20-minute address Saturday at the small Catholic liberal arts college in Atchison, Kan.

“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,” Butker said, addressing the women in the audience who had just earned their college degrees.

“I can tell you that my beautiful wife, Isabelle, would be the first to say that her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.”

Butker, whose mother is a medical physicist at the Winship Cancer Institute in Atlanta, became emotional as he spoke about his wife.

“It cannot be overstated that 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,” said Butker, who has two kids.

“Isabelle’s dream of having a career might not have come true, but if you asked her today if she has any regrets on her decision, she would laugh out loud without hesitation and say, ‘Heck no.’”

Butker also took a not-so-subtle shot at June’s celebration of the LGBTQ community when he referenced a “deadly sin sort of pride that has an entire month dedicated to it.”

He pointed out that President Biden is Catholic as he ripped the politician for being “delusional enough to make the sign of the cross during a pro-abortion rally.”

And he encouraged his audience to fight against the “cultural emasculation of men.”

“Bad policies and poor leadership have negatively impacted major life issues,” Butker said. “Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for degenerate cultural values and media all stem from the pervasiveness of disorder.”

The backlash against Butker was robust. GLAAD, an LGBTQ watchdog organization, slammed his speech as “inaccurate, ill-informed, and woefully out of step with Americans about Pride, LGBTQ people and women.”

The City of Kansas City tweeted, then deleted, a post reading, “Just a reminder that Harrison Butker lives in the City of Lee’s Summit.” Mayor Quinton Lucas later apologized for the post.

Others mocked Butker for saying “familiarity breeds contempt,” a lyric he intentionally quoted from Taylor Swift’s “Bejeweled.” Swift, who is dating Chiefs star Travis Kelce, regularly delivers messages of empowerment.

“I actually think that Harrison Butker quoting Taylor Swift in his dumpster fire of a speech is hilarious when you consider that the song he quoted (Bejeweled) is about a successful woman telling a mediocre man to step aside so she can shine,” read a viral tweet by the user McKenzie Hopson David.

And in their “The Sims”-themed scheduled announcement video, the Los Angeles Chargers depicted a video-game version of Butker as a homemaker putting a pizza into an oven.

Butker received applause during his speech, but not all of the graduates aligned. Those included 22-year-old Kassidy Neuner, who found Butker’s messaging about women to be “a little degrading.”

“I think that men have that option as well,” Neuner told The Associated Press. “And to point this out specifically that that’s what we’re looking forward to in life seems like our four years of hard work wasn’t really important.”

The Chiefs have not publicly commented.

Originally a 2017 seventh-round pick out of Georgia Tech, Butker previously urged graduates to “get married and start a family” as an antidote to loneliness during a 2023 commencement speech at his alma mater.

Butker made a career-high 94.3% of his field-goal attempts last season and boasts a 89.1% rate over his seven-year NFL career. His 57-yard field goal in February’s Super Bowl LVIII is the longest in the NFL title game’s history.

As far as kickers go, he is among the NFL’s most visible.

His voicing of controversial viewpoints prompted a response from the NFL, which distanced itself from Butker’s comments and noted the kicker spoke in his “personal capacity.”

“His views are not those of the NFL as an organization,” Jonathan Beane, the NFL’s senior vice president, chief diversity and inclusion officer, said in a statement. “The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

Butker is set to become an unrestricted free agent after the 2024 season.


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