NFL Distances Itself From Chiefs Kicker Harrison Butker After His Controversial Commencement Speech

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The NFL distanced itself from Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker after he gave a controversial commencement speech last weekend at Benedictine College in Kansas and received backlash for comments deemed sexist and offensive.

Butker, who was the commencement speaker at the private Catholic college, was applauded at the ceremony, but his speech later sparked outrage and controversy online for its conservative discourse—particularly his remarks on women. At one point, he encouraged women to prioritize their “vocation” as mothers, wives, and homemakers.

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After clips of Butker’s speech went viral, the NFL responded to the outcry.

“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 to ML Football. “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.”

Butker suggested in his speech that working in the home is more valuable for women than professional accomplishments.

“I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you,” he said in his speech. “How many of you are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you are 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 that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”

“I’m on this stage today and able to be the man I am because I have a wife who leans into her vocation,” he added.

He went on to criticize President Joe Biden for his support of abortion rights. He also mentioned a “deadly sin sort of pride that has a month dedicated to it,” an apparent reference to Pride month.

People soon took to the internet to express their outrage over Butker’s speech.

“Harrison Butker is a disgusting human being,” one person said on X.

“No, Harrison Butker didn’t praise women or promote family values with his sexist bigoted speech, he told women that serving a man like a Handmaid is all they should aspire to do in life, this whilst attacking LGBTQ+ people in the process,” another person said on X.

More than 150,000 people signed a petition on Change.org demanding the Kansas City Chiefs dismiss Butker for his comments.

“We demand accountability from our sports figures who should be role models promoting respect for all people regardless of their race, gender identity or sexual orientation,” Willard Harris, who started the petition, said on the website.

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