Skip to main content

Backlash after Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker’s controversial college speech

Thursday

Share

Media Landscape

See who else is reporting on this story and which side of the political spectrum they lean. To read other sources, click on the plus signs below.

Learn more about this data

Left 13%

Center 70%

Right 17%

Bias Distribution Powered by Ground News

An online petition called for the Super Bowl champion Kansas City Chiefs to fire its kicker, Harrison Butker, over a commencement speech. The petition, which has been widely circulated, accuses Butker of making sexist, homophobic, anti-trans, anti-abortion and racist remarks.

“As a man who gets a lot of praise and has been given a platform to speak to audiences like this one today,” Butker said during the speech. “I pray that I always use my voice for God and not for myself. Everything I am saying to you is not from a place of wisdom, but rather, a place of experience.”

QR code for SAN app download

Download the SAN app today to stay up-to-date with Unbiased. Straight Facts™.

Point phone camera here

The story has received national attention, with dozens of headlines dedicated to the controversy:

CNN: “Chiefs Player Faces Backlash for Dissing Working Women in Controversial Speech.”

The Huffington Post: “NFL Pushes Back on Harrison Butker’s Bigoted Graduation Speech.”

The San Francisco Chronicle: “Why NFL Dumped Colin Kaepernick but Won’t Do Squat to Harrison Butker.”

So, what did Butker say and why is it receiving so much backlash?

Benedictine College in Kansas, a Catholic institution, invited Butker, a conservative Catholic, to give the commencement speech. The school considers its religious affiliation an important component of its stated mission: “The education of men and women within a community of faith and scholarship.”

During his speech, Butker made comments critical of President Biden, abortion, IVF, Pride Month and the media. He also discussed gender roles in society.

The part of his speech receiving the most pushback is his comments to the female graduates:

“For the ladies present today, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment,” Butker said. “You should be proud of all you’ve achieved to this point in your young lives. I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it is you, the women, who’ve had the most diabolical lies told to you.

“How many of you are sitting here now, about to cross this stage, and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you’re going to get in your career? Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world. But I would venture to guess, the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you’ll bring into this world. I am beyond blessed with the many talents God has given me but it cannot be overstated that all of my success has been 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.”

The audience proceeded to clap for nearly 20 seconds straight.

Butker’s supporters noted he did not say that women should not have careers and did not say being a wife and mother is all there is for women.

His supporters note that he believed the women sitting in the audience at a Catholic institution are probably most excited about the families they will create with their future husbands.

Butker also encouraged the men and women in the audience to embrace the most important title of all: a Catholic.

“I don’t see what’s controversial about what he said there,” one user on X, formerly Twitter, wrote.

“Good for him,” another user wrote. “I have no problem with anything he had to say. Diversity of thought is what academia has left behind.”

However, critics voiced their concerns with Butker’s speech, prompting the petition.

“I hope you miss every kick this season,” one user wrote on X.

Even the official Kansas City account decided to tell followers where Butker resides.

“Just a reminder that Harrison Butker lives in the city of Lee’s Summit,” the city posted.

The city has since removed the post and apologized.

“These comments reinforce harmful stereotypes that threaten social progress,” the petition to fire Butker said. “They create a toxic environment that hinders our collective efforts towards equality, diversity and inclusion in society. It is unacceptable for such a public figure to use their platform to foster harm rather than unity.”

The petition received over 130,000 signatures and continues to gain momentum.

The NFL also responded to Butker’s speech.

“Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity,” the league said in a 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.”

The graduates and their families in the audience appeared to not take issue with Butker’s speech as they applauded him with a standing ovation.

Tags: , , , ,

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

AN ONLINE PETITION IS NOW MAKING THE ROUNDS – CALLING FOR THE SUPER BOWL CHAMPION KANSAS CITY CHIEFS TO FIRE THEIR KICKER – HARRISON BUTKER – OVER A COMMENCEMENT SPEECH. 

[HARRISON BUTKER]

“AS A MAN WHO GETS A LOT OF PRAISE AND HAS BEEN GIVEN A PLATFORM TO SPEAK TO AUDIENCES LIKE THIS ONE TODAY, I PRAY THAT I ALWAYS USE MY VOICE FOR GOD AND NOT FOR MYSELF. EVERYTHING I AM SAYING TO YOU IS NOT FROM A PLACE OF WISDOM, BUT RATHER, A PLACE OF EXPERIENCE.”

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

THE PETITION ACCUSES  BUTKER OF MAKING SEXIST, HOMOPHOBIC, ANTI-TRANS, ANTI-ABORITON AND RACIST REMARKS.

THE STORY’S received NATIONAL ATTENTION, WITH DOZENS OF HEADLINES DEDICATED TO THE CONTROVERSY..

CNN WROTE “CHIEFS PLAYER FACES BACKLASH FOR DISSING WORKING WOMEN IN CONTROVERSIAL SPEECH”

THE HUFFINGTON POST: “NFL PUSHES BACK ON HARRISON BUTKER’S BIGOTED GRADUATION SPEECH.”

AND THE SAN FRANCISCO CHRONICLE: “WHY NFL DUMPED COLIN KAEPERNICK BUT WON’T DO SQUAT TO HARRISON BUTKER”

SO WHAT DID BUTKER SAY AND WHY IS IT RECEIVING SO MUCH BACKLASH?

BENEDICTINE COLLEGE IN KANSAS, A CATHOLIC INSTITUTION, INVITED BUTKER, A CONSERVATIVE CATHOLIC, TO GIVE THE COMMENCEMENT SPEECH. THE SCHOOL CONSIDERS ITS RELIGIOUS AFFILIATION AN IMPORTANT COMPONENT OF ITS STATED MISSION: THE EDUCATION OF MEN AND WOMEN WITHIN A COMMUNITY OF FAITH AND SCHOLARSHIP.”

DURING HIS SPEECH, BUTKER MADE COMMENTS CRITICAL OF PRESIDENT BIDEN, ABORTION, IVF, PRIDE MONTH, AND THE MEDIA, AND DISCUSSED GENDER ROLES IN SOCIETY.

THE PART RECEIVING THE MOST PUSHBACK – HIS COMMENTS TO THE FEMALE GRADUATES:

[HARRISON BUTKER]

“FOR THE LADIES PRESENT TODAY, CONGRATULATIONS ON AN AMAZING ACCOMPLISHMENT. YOU SHOULD BE PROUD OF ALL YOU’VE ACHIEVED TO THIS POINT IN YOUR YOUNG LIVES. I WANT TO SPEAK DIRECTLY TO YOU BRIEFLY BECAUSE I THINK IT IS YOU, THE WOMEN, WHO’VE HAD THE MOST DIABOLICAL LIES TOLD TO YOU. HOW MANY OF YOU ARE SITTING HERE NOW, ABOUT TO CROSS THIS STAGE AND ARE THINKING ABOUT ALL THE PROMOTIONS AND TITLES YOU’RE GOING TO GET IN YOUR CAREER? SOME OF YOU MAY GO ON TO LEAD SUCCESSFUL CAREERS IN THE WORLD BUT I WOULD VENTURE TO GUESS, THE MAJORITY OF YOU ARE MOST EXCITED ABOUT YOUR MARRIAGE AND THE CHILDREN YOU’LL BRING INTO THIS WORLD… I AM BEYOND BLESSED WITH THE MANY TALENTS GOD HAS GIVEN ME BUT IT CANNOT BE OVERSTATED THAT ALL OF MY SUCCESS HAS BEEN 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. 

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

BUTKER’S SUPPORTERS HAVE NOTED HE DIDN’T SAY WOMEN SHOULDN’T HAVE CAREERS AND DIDN’T SAY BEING A WIFE AND MOTHER IS ALL THERE IS FOR WOMEN.

THEY NOTE THAT HE BELIEVES THE WOMEN SITTING IN THE AUDIENCE AT A CATHOLIC INSTITUTION ARE PROBABLY MOST EXCITED ABOUT THE FAMILIES THEY WILL CREATE WITH THEIR FUTURE HUSBANDS.

BUTKER ALSO ENCOURAGED THE MEN AND WOMEN IN THE AUDIENCE TO EMBRACE THE MOST IMPORTANT TITLE OF ALL: A CATHOLIC.

“I DON’T SEE WHAT’S CONTROVERSIAL ABOUT WHAT HE SAID THERE.” WROTE ONE USER ON  X.

ANOTHER SAID “GOOD FOR HIM. I HAVE NO PROBLEM WITH ANYTHING HE HAD TO SAY. DIVERSITY OF THOUGHT IS WHAT ACADEMIA HAS LEFT BEHIND.”

HOWEVER – CRITICS HAVE VOICED THEIR CONCERNS WITH BUTKER’S SPEECH – PROMPTING THE PETITION.

“I HOPE YOU MISS EVERY KICK THIS SEASON” WROTE ONE USER ON X.

EVEN THE OFFICIAL KANSAS CITY “X” PAGE DECIDED TO TELL FOLLOWERS WHERE BUTKER RESIDES: “JUST A REMINDER THAT HARRISON BUTKER LIVES IN THE CITY OF LEE’S SUMMIT” THE CITY POSTED AND HAS SINCE REMOVED AND APOLOGIZED.

“THESE COMMENTS REINFORCE HARMFUL STEREOTYPES THAT THREATEN SOCIAL PROGRESS. THEY CREATE A TOXIC ENVIRONMENT THAT HINDERS OUR COLLECTIVE EFFORTS TOWARDS EQUALITY, DIVERSITY AND INCLUSION IN SOCIETY. IT IS UNACCEPTABLE FOR SUCH A PUBLIC FIGURE TO USE THEIR PLATFORM TO FOSTER HARM RATHER THAN UNITY” THE PETITION STATES.

THE PETITION HAS RECEIVED over 100-thousand signatures and continues to gain momentum. 

THE NFL RESPONDED TO BUTKER’S SPEECH SAYING: “HARRISON BUTKER GAVE A SPEECH IN HIS PERSONAL CAPACITY. 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.”

THE GRADUATES AND THEIR FAMILIES IN THE AUDIENCE APPEARED TO NOT TAKE ISSUE WITH BUTKER’S SPEECH AS THEY APPLAUDED HIM WITH A STANDING OVATION…

[HARRISON BUTKER]

“MAKE NO MISTAKE, YOU’RE ENTERING INTO MISSION TERRITORY IN A POST-GOD WORLD BUT YOU WERE MADE FOR THIS. AND WITH GOD BY YOUR SIDE, AND A CONSTANT STRIVING FOR VIRTUE WITH YOUR VOCATION, YOU, TOO, CAN BE A SAINT. CHRIST IS KING TO THE HEIGHTS.”

*STANDING OVATION*

[LAUREN TAYLOR]

FOR STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS, I’M LAUREN TAYLOR..

IF YOU WANT MORE STORIES JUST LIKE THIS ONE – DOWNLOAD THE STRAIGHT ARROW NEWS APP OR VISIT SAN DOT COM.