'His views are not those of the NFL': Backlash after Kansas City Chiefs star's 'homemaker' speech

By John Mercury May 18, 2024

The NFL has distanced itself from Kansas City Chiefs Harrison Butker’s controversial speech which has sparked a backlash after he suggested female graduates were most looking forward to becoming wives and mothers.

During a commencement speech to graduates at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, the Super Bowl-winning kicker railed against abortion, called Pride month a “deadly sin”, and attacked lockdown measures during the COVID pandemic.

His remarks on women in the workplace went viral after he said they were told “the most diabolical lies” and he suggested one of their most important roles in life will be “homemaker”.

“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,” he said.

“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.”

The 28-year-old said his wife embraced “one of the most important titles of all. Homemaker.”

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker. Pic: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters
Image:
The Chiefs kicker railed against abortion, called Pride month an example of ‘deadly sins’ and attacked COVID lockdown measures. Pic: Mark J. Rebilas/USA TODAY Sports via Reuters

What has the NFL said in response?

In a statement, the NFL’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer Jonathan Beane said the Chiefs kicker was speaking in “his personal capacity”.

He told People magazine: “His views are not those of the NFL as an organisation. The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

During the 20-minute-long speech last week, Butker – who’s made his conservative Catholic beliefs well known – also referenced lyrics from Taylor Swift – who is dating his teammate Travis Kelce – and said “familiarity breeds contempt” when discussing how Catholic priests should not become “overly familiar” with their parishioners.

When speaking about faith, he said to have pride – before adding: “Not the deadly sins sort of Pride that has an entire month dedicated to it, but the true God-centered pride that is cooperating with the Holy Ghost to glorify him.”

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Star also hit out at US president

The kicker then attacked US President Joe Biden’s “delusional” stance on abortion, saying: “He has been so vocal in his support for the murder of innocent babies that I’m sure to many people it appears that you can be both Catholic and pro-choice.”

A Change.org petition calling for the Chiefs to dismiss Butker for “discriminatory remarks” has attracted more than 170,000 signatures online.

But his speech was also praised by former NFL wide receiver T.J. Moe, who said on social media: “Not a word Harrison Butker says here should be remotely controversial. He’s 100% correct.

“Those trying to convince women that being assistant VP of lending & intentionally childless at age 40 is more fulfilling than making a family and home are evil.”

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