Butker Doubles Down: I Only Answer to Jesus

Kansas City Chiefs kicker doesn't back down from controversial remarks from commencement speech
By Newser Editors and Wire Services
Posted May 15, 2024 8:23 AM CDT
Updated May 25, 2024 7:00 AM CDT
UPDATE May 25, 2024 7:00 AM CDT

Harrison Butker showed up Friday in public for the first time since his controversial commencement speech at Benedictine College earlier this month, with "zero regret" on those previous remarks, per Fox News. "I lean on those closest to me for guidance, but I can never forget that it is not people, but Jesus Christ who I am trying to please," he told the crowd at a gala held by the Regina Caeli Academy in Nashville, Tennessee. Butker conceded he'd become a "more polarizing" figure and said he was "humbled" by the support he'd received, but he added he wasn't backing down from his stance. "If it wasn't clear that the timeless Catholic values are hated by many, it is now," he said. As for the pushback on him: "If I constantly remind myself of the hardships the saints went through, especially the martyrs in their persecution, it makes it all seem not so bad." More here.

May 15, 2024 8:23 AM CDT

"It is safe to say that over the years, I have gained quite the reputation for speaking my mind," said Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker near the top of his commencement address at Benedictine College last weekend. The three-time Super Bowl champion railed against Pride month, working women, President Biden's leadership during the COVID-19 pandemic, and abortion during his roughly 20-minute address Saturday at the Catholic private liberal arts school in Atchison, Kansas. Butker, who has made his conservative Catholic beliefs well known, began his address by attacking what he called "dangerous gender ideologies" in an apparent reference to Pride month, reports the AP. More:

  • On COVID: The 28-year-old Butker took aim at Biden's policies, including his response to COVID-19. "While COVID might have played a large role throughout your formative years, it is not unique," he said. "The bad policies and poor leadership have negatively impacted major life issues. Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for the degenerate cultural values and media all stem from pervasiveness of disorder."
  • His advice for women: Butker later addressed the women in the audience, arguing one of the "most important titles of all" is that of "homemaker." As he put it, "I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you. How many of you are sitting here now, about to cross the 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 can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabelle would be the first to say her life truly started when she started living her vocation as a wife and as a mother."
  • His advice for men. People quotes Butker as telling the male grads to "be unapologetic in your masculinity," and to "fight against the cultural emasculation of men. ... To the gentlemen here today, part of what plagues our society is this lie that has been told to you that men are not necessary in the home or our communities. As men, we set the tone of the culture, and when that is absent, disorder, dysfunction, and chaos set in. This absence of men in the home is what plays a large role in the violence we see all around the nation."

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The Chiefs declined to comment on Butker's commencement address. The 2017 seventh-round pick out of Georgia Tech has become one 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 kicked the field goal that forced overtime in a Super Bowl win over San Francisco in February. (More commencement speech stories.)

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