Patricia Heaton Defends Harrison Butker Amid Controversial Speech Backlash

Everybody Loves Raymond actress Patricia Heaton shared her thoughts on Kansas City Chiefs player Harrison Butker’s divisive commencement speech at Benedictine College and backlash he’s faced.

Patricia Heaton is in Harrison Butker’s corner.

The Everybody Loves Raymond alum reacted to the Kansas City Chiefs kicker’s commencement speech at Benedictine College May 11, where he shared his belief that women should be in the home and not the workplace.

“I don’t know why everybody’s knickers are in a twist,” Patricia said in a May 18 Instagram video. “He gave a commencement speech. The audience applauded twice and gave him a standing ovation at the end, so clearly they enjoyed what he was saying. The guy is espousing his own opinions and Catholic doctrine, so what?”

“It’s his opinion,” the 66-year-old continued. “He can have one. He’s allowed. He’s not a monster for stating what he believes.”

Patricia—who is a Catholic woman who worked throughout her kids’ childhood—didn’t find his statements offensive, even if they don’t align with her lifestyle.

“I’m just curious as to why people get ‘offended,'” the Beethoven actress admitted. “If you have made choices in your life and you feel those are the right choices and you feel comfortable and they’re working out for you and your family, great. If they’re different from his, that’s great. You do you. He’ll do him.”

The Middle star concluded her video, “Relax, everybody.”

Among the topics discussed during his speech at the private university in Atchison, Kan., Harrison said that he believed the female students at graduation would likely be more excited about their marriage and children than their future careers.

He also noted that he believes his wife Isabelle Butker, with whom he shares two kids, would say her life truly began when she became a wife and mother.

And Patricia isn’t the only star to give her two cents about Harrison’s divisive speech. In fact, journalist Maria Shriver slammed his sentiments, while Whoopi Goldberg defended his right to say what he wanted.

“These are his beliefs and he’s welcome to him,” Whoopi said on The View May 16. “I don’t have to believe them, right? I don’t have to accept them. The ladies that were sitting in that audience do not have to accept them.”

Keep reading to see who else reacted to Harrison’s eyebrow-raising speech.

“Well, I’m where I am today because I have a husband who leans into his vocation, which is being an equal partner,” Jenna—who shares daughters Mila, 11, and Poppy, 8, and son Hal, 4, with husband Henry Hager—said on TODAY. “And I tell him that all the time.”

Added co-anchor Hoda, who’s mom to daughters Haley, 7, and Hope, 5: “Don’t speak for us. Stop speaking for women out there.”

“I cherish him as a teammate,” the Kansas City Chiefs tight end said on the May 24 episode of the New Heights podcast. “He’s treated family and family that I’ve introduced to him with nothing but respect and kindness. And that’s how he treats everyone.”

“When it comes down to his views and what he said at Saint Benedict’s commencement speech, those are his,” he continued. “I can’t say I agree with the majority of it or just about any of it outside of just him loving his family and his kids. And I don’t think that I should judge him by his views, especially his religious views, of how to go about life, that’s just not who I am.”

The Pearl Jam frontman had some choice words, calling Butker at “f—kin’ p—y” during a May 18 concert in Las Vegas.

“That’s some good men, good women, making up a great band,” he said, gesturing to his fellow musicians onstage. “The singer, Jessica [Dobson], and the keyboard player, Patti [King], they must not have believed that [deepening his voice] ‘diabolical lie’ that women should take pride in taking a back seat to their man.”

Vedder—dad to daughters Olivia and Harper with wife Jill McCormick—waited for the applause to trail off, then added that homemaking “is maybe one of the hardest jobs” and one to “definitely take pride in.”

But he didn’t “understand the logic” of advising anyone, men or women, that they’ll benefit from giving up their dreams.

And, Vedder added, “There’s nothing more masculine than a strong man supporting a strong woman and people of quality do not fear equality.”

The “Bones” singer reacted to Harrison’s speech with a reference to a social media trend in which women say whether they’d rather encounter a bear or a man while alone in the woods.

Under a video of the NFL player’s speech, Maren wrote on her Instagram Story, “I choose the bear.”

“There’s always going to be opinions that everybody shares that you’re going to disagree with,” the former Philadelphia Eagles center said on the May 24 episode of the New Heights podcast. “And make no mistake about it, a lot of the things he said in his commencement speech are not things that I align myself with. But, he’s giving a commencement speech at a Catholic university, and, shocker, it ended up being a very religious and Catholic speech.”

“To me,” he continued, “I can listen to somebody talk and take great value in it, like when he’s talking about the importance of family and the importance that a great mother can make, while also acknowledge that not everybody has to be a homemaker if that’s not what they want to do in life.”

“What point was Harrison Butker really trying to make to women in his graduation speech about their present day life choices?” Maria wrote on X, formerly Twitter, May 16. “Did he really want them, aka us, to believe that our lives truly only begin when we lean into the vocation of wife and mother?”

“Look, everyone has the right to free speech in our country,” she continued. “That’s the benefit of living in a democracy. But those of us who are women and who have a voice have the right to disagree with Butker.”

“Building men up and not tearing them down is important. Building women and not tearing them down is important,” wrote the podcast host and mother of four daughters with her husband, L.A. Rams quarterback Matt Stafford, in a May 16 Instagram post.

“Everyone has a choice of what they want his/her life to look like…it’s not up to anyone else or society. The more society tells women where they belong, the more imposter syndrome starts to creep in, that they don’t belong because that’s what society is telling them.”

She continued, “I’m happy and I thrive at home with being the homemaker, but that’s not every woman’s story nor should it have to be. Some women choose not to stay home and some women don’t have the luxury to choose. We all might not agree on everything, but I think we all want the same end goal, a better world for our kids.

“I think supporting and encouraging women and men in whatever roles they choose is a great first step towards that goal.”

“I don’t understand why everybody’s knickers in a twist,” the Everybody Loves Raymond actor shared in a video. “He gave a commencement speech. The audience applauded twice during the speech and gave him a standing ovation at the end. So clearly they enjoyed what he was saying. The guy is espousing his own opinions and Catholic doctrine.”

“So what? It’s his opnion, he can have one,” she continued. “He’s not a monster for stating what he believes.”

“I like when people say what they need to say—he’s at a Catholic College, he’s a staunch Catholic,” she said during the May 16 episode of The View. “These are his beliefs and he’s welcome to him. I don’t have to believe them, right? I don’t have to accept them. The ladies that were sitting in that audience do not have to accept them.”

“I’m okay with him saying whatever he says and the women who are sitting there if they take his advice, good for them, they’ll be happy,” she added. “If they don’t go for them, they will be happy a different way. That’s my attitude.”

Patrick Mahomes

“There’s certain things that he said that I don’t necessarily agree with,” the Kansas City Chiefs quarterback explained during a May 22 press conference, “but I understand the person that he is and he is trying to do whatever he can to lead people in the right direction.”

“And that might not be the same values as I have, but at the same time, I’m going to judge him by the character that he shows every single day,” he said. “That’s a great person and we’ll continue to move along and try to help build each other up to make ourselves better every single day.”

Andy Reid

“Everybody’s got their own opinion,” the Kansas City Chiefs coach said during a May 22 press conference. “And that’s what’s so great about this country, you could share those things, and you work through it.”

“I didn’t talk to him about this, didn’t think we’d need to,” he continued. “We’re a microcosm of life here, everybody’s from different areas, different religions, different races. And so we all get along, we all respect each other’s opinions, and not necessarily do we go by those, but we respect everybody to have a voice. It’s a great thing about America. And we’re just like I said a microcosm of that and my wish that everybody could kind of follow that.”

“I don’t think he was speaking ill of women,” he added. “He has his opinions, and we all respect that.”

While emphasizing “how much this guy is not like me,” the TV host did say OF Harrison’s speech during Real Time, “I don’t see what the big crime is, I really don’t.”

He continued, “Like he’s saying some of you may go on to successful careers, but a lot of you are excited about this other way that people, everybody used to be and now can. Can’t that just be a choice too?”

The wife and daughter of the Kansas City Chiefs CEO, Clark Hunt, spoke out following the team kicker’s controversial statements.

“I’ve always encouraged my daughters to be highly educated and chase their dreams,” Tavia, who also shares daughter Ava Hunt, 18, and son Knobel Hunt, 20, with Clark, wrote on Instagram, alongside throwback pics of herself with her kids. “I want them to know that they can do whatever they want (that honors God). But I also want them to know that I believe finding a spouse who loves and honors you as or before himself and raising a family together is one of the greatest blessings this world has to offer.”

Gracie, 25, then told Fox News’ Fox & Friends, “I’ve had the most incredible mom who had the ability to stay home and be with us as kids growing up. And I understand that there are many women out there who can’t make that decision. But for me and my life, I know it was really formative and in shaping me and my siblings into who we are.”

Roger Goodell

“Listen, we have over 3,000 players. We have executives around the league. They have a diversity of opinions and thoughts just like America does,” the NFL commissioner said. “I think that’s something that we treasure and that’s part of, I think, ultimately what makes us as a society better.”

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