NFL distances itself from Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker’s comments during commencement speech

NEW YORK – The NFL is distancing itself from Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, saying “his views are not those of the NFL as an organization.”

Butker appeared as the commencement speaker last week at Benedictine College, a private Catholic liberal arts school in Kansas, and said most of the women receiving degrees were probably more excited about getting married and having children.

Butker also said some Catholic leaders were “pushing dangerous gender ideologies onto the youth of America.”

“Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity,” Jonathan Beane, NFL senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, said in a statement released Thursday. “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.”

FILE - Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker speaks to the media during NFL football Super Bowl 58 opening night Monday, Feb. 5, 2024, in Las Vegas. Butker railed against Pride month along with President Bidens leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic and his stance on abortion during a commencement address at Benedictine College last weekend. (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel, File)

The three-time Super Bowl champion delivered his roughly 20-minute address Saturday at the school in Atchison, Kansas, which is located about 60 miles (97 kilometers) miles north of Kansas City. He received a standing ovation from graduates and other attendees.

Butker, who’s made his conservative Catholic beliefs well known, also assailed Pride month, a particularly important time for the LGBTQ+ rights movement, and President Joe Biden’s stance on abortion.

“I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you,” Butker added in his speech.

“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,” he said.

Butker, 28, said his wife embraced “one of the most important titles of all. Homemaker.“

Butker also criticized as disparaging to the Catholic Church an article by The Associated Press highlighting a shift toward conservativism in some parts of the church.

Butker also referred to a “deadly sin sort of pride that has a month dedicated to it” in an oblique reference to Pride month. Butker also took aim at Biden’s policies, including his condemnation of the Supreme Court’s reversal of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision and advocacy for abortion rights — a key campaign issue in the 2024 presidential race.

The 2017 seventh-round pick out of Georgia Tech has become of the NFL’s best kickers, breaking the Chiefs’ franchise record with a 62-yard field goal in 2022. Butker helped them win their first Super Bowl in 50 years in 2020, added a second Lombardi Trophy in 2023, and he kicked the field goal that forced overtime in a Super Bowl win over San Francisco in February.

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