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NFL Speaks Out Against Harrison Butker’s Controversial Speech

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The NFL is speaking out after Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker drew intense criticism for his controversial commencement address at Benedictine College last weekend. 

“Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity,” Jonathan Beane, the NFL’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, told People in a statement. “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.”

The three-time Super Bowl champion is drawing flack for a roughly 20-minute address delivered Saturday at the Catholic private liberal arts school in Atchison, Kansas, about 60 miles north of Kansas City.

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, which has been celebrated in June since the Stonewall riots in 1969. He also criticized an article by The Associated Press highlighting a shift toward conservativism in some parts of the Catholic Church.

The 28-year-old Butker then took aim at President Joe Biden‘s policies, including his response to COVID-19, which has killed nearly 1.2 million people in the U.S., according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

“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.”

Harrison Butker, #7 of the Kansas City ChiefsPerry Knotts/Getty Images

Butker later addressed the women in the audience, arguing that their “most important title” should be that of “homemaker.”

“I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolic lies told to you,” Butker said. “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.”

The kicker from Decatur, Georgia, also quoted from Taylor Swift‘s song “Bejeweled” while addressing the graduates.

“As my teammate’s girlfriend says, ‘familiarity breeds contempt,'” Butker said, referencing Travis Kelce.

While the Chiefs declined to comment on Butker’s commencement address, former Kansas City commissioner Justice Horn slammed the address on social media

“Harrison Butker doesn’t represent Kansas City nor has he ever. Kansas City has always been a place that welcomes, affirms, and embraces our LGBTQ+ community members,” he wrote on X (formerly Twitter).

“One of the worst parts of this NFL player’s awful speech is that he quoted a Taylor Swift song before telling women they should be homemakers and serve their man’s career,” LGBTQ+ publication OutSports wrote in a post on X. 

It’s not the first time Butker has spoken of Swift. In a recent interview with EWTN News in Depth, the Butker opened up about his first meeting with the 34-year-old “Bad Blood” singer.

“I wouldn’t say I’m a Swiftie, but I got to meet her after our New Year’s game,” Butker recalled. “And I rarely go out ever… I went to a party — and this was very tame, I wore a suit and tie to the party — but Travis showed up and Taylor was there and I got to meet her and she was just so humble and so gracious.”

“I don’t think she grew up a football fan, so everything to her is so cool — especially as a kicker, she thinks that’s amazing that I can kick the ball so far through the uprights,” he continued. “I was a little nervous to meet Taylor Swift. I mean, it’s Taylor Swift. So maybe I am a Swiftie if I was nervous to meet her. It was a great experience and I can’t say enough great things about her.” 

Kelce, 34, and Swift have been going strong since summer 2023, and they’re showing no signs of slowing down. Of their relationship, Butker said, “I hope they get married and start a family.” 

Considering his recent comments, some would say Butker hasn’t been listening to Swift’s music as closely as he should. Flavor Flav, a vocal Swiftie and founding member of Public Enemy, took to social media to call out the NFL player for his disparging address. 

“Sounds like some players ‘need to stay in their lanes’ and shouldn’t be giving commencement speeches,” Flav wrote on X.

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