Harrison Butker Addresses 'Shocking Level of Hate' to Graduation Speech


Harrison Butker
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Harrison Butker broke his silence on his controversial graduation speech.

“The theme for tonight’s gala — Courage Under Fire — was decided many months ago, but it now feels providential that this would be the theme after what we have all witnessed these past two weeks. If it wasn’t clear that the timeless Catholic values are hated by many, it is now,” Butker, 28, said during the Regina Caeli Academy Courage Under Fire Gala on Friday, May 24, per The Daily Wire. “Over the past few days, my beliefs, or what people think I believe, have been the focus of countless discussions around the globe.”

The Kansas City Chiefs kicker, who is on the board of directors at Regina Caeli Academy, continued, “At the outset, many people expressed a shocking level of hate, but as the days went on — even those who disagreed with my viewpoints — shared their support for my freedom of religion. In my seven years of being in the NFL, I’ve become familiar with the positive and negative comments, but the majority of them revolve around my performance on the field.”

Butker noticed that “as to be expected,” the conversation shifted to be about his life off the NFL gridiron.

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Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker sparked controversy after making comments about gender roles and the LGBTQIA+ community during a graduation speech. Butker, 28, served as the commencement speaker for Benedictine College’s graduating class in Atchison, Kansas on Saturday, May 11. During his remarks, the athlete singled out the women graduates. “For the ladies present […]

“The more I talked about what I value most, which is my Catholic faith, the more polarizing I’ve become,” he said. “It’s a decision I’ve consciously made and one I do not regret at all. If we have truth and charity, we should trust the Lord’s providence and let the Holy Ghost do the rest of the work. Our love for Jesus and thus, our desire to speak out, should never be outweighed by the longing of our fallen nature to be loved by the world. Glorifying God, and not ourselves, should always remain our motivation, despite any pushback or even support. 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.”

The athlete went on to say his courage is small compared to that of saints in the Bible. “I’m humbled by the support I’ve received from all walks of life, but I can’t help but tremble at the thought of the courage many saints have shown in their lives,” Butker added. “Would I be so bold if the repercussion was what Daniel faced in being fed to lions? In reality, any courage I’ve shown will lead to some small suffering, and it will lead to some people maybe never liking me. That could be God’s will. If I constantly remind myself of the hardship the saints went through, especially the martyrs in their persecution, it makes it all seem not so bad. For if Heaven is our goal, we should embrace our cross, however large or small it may be, and live our life with joy to be a bold witness for Christ.”

He hopes to “embolden” other Catholics to speak out. “In the end, being courageous starts with the small things. Being disliked and mischaracterized by some is nothing compared to finding yourself in a lion’s den,” he said.

His latest remarks come after Butker delivered the commencement address at Benedictine College’s graduation earlier in May. In the speech, he notably went after LGBTQIA+ rights, IVF as a family planning method and women having careers outside of being “homemakers.”

“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,” the football player said at the time. “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?”

He added, “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.”

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Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker is facing backlash after his controversial graduation speech. Butker, 28, was the commencement speaker at Benedictine College on Saturday, May 11. The athlete first raised eyebrows when he addressed the women graduates to invoke stereotypical gender roles. “I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it […]

In the address, Butker also referred to Taylor Swift without using her name. (Swift, 34, is dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, who doesn’t agree with Butker’s beliefs but still “cherishes” their bond as teammates.)

“As my teammate’s girlfriend says, ‘Familiarity breeds contempt,’” Butker said, quoting Swift’s 2022 song “Bejeweled.”

Swift has been dating Kelce, 34, since summer 2023. They took their romance public the following September when she went to her first NFL game. Swift has since been to 12 more Chiefs games, including February’s Super Bowl LVIII, and formed friendships with many of the players and their families along the way.

Butker met Swift for the first time after the team’s New Year’s Day game, which the pop star attended with her family.

“I wouldn’t say I’m a Swiftie, but I got to meet her after our New Year’s game,” Butker told EWTN News In Depth in March. “But I got to meet her after our New Year’s game. We had just clinched the AFC West, and I rarely go out ever. … I went to a party — and this was very tame, I wore a suit and tie — but Travis showed up and Taylor was there and I got to meet her.”

He added, “I don’t think she grew up a football fan, so everything for her is so cool. Especially as a kicker, she thinks that’s amazing that I can kick the ball so far through the uprights.”

At the time, Butker called Swift “humble” and “gracious” before sharing his wishes for her relationship with Kelce, also 34.

“I hope they get married and start a family,” Butker, who shares two children with wife Isabelle, said.

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