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Chiefs Players and More React to Harrison Butker’s Controversial Speech

By Michael May 23, 2024
Harrison Butker. Cooper Neill/Getty Images

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker continues to make headlines after his controversial commencement speech at Benedictine College in Kansas.

During his remarks on May 11, 2024, the NFL player raised eyebrows after singling out the women graduates. “For the ladies present today, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment,” he said at the Catholic liberal arts college. “You should be proud of all that you have achieved to this point in your young lives. 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.”

Butker then said that while “some” of the women in the audience “may go on to lead successful careers in the world,” he “would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”

The football player also faced backlash when he compared the LGBTQIA+ community’s Pride Month to “deadly sins” and said men “set the tone of society, and when that is absent, disorder, dysfunction and chaos set in.”

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After Butker’s remarks spread online, stars like Maren Morris, Maria Shriver, Whoopi Goldberg and Hoda Kotb voiced their opinions on the speech. In addition, members of the Kansas City Chiefs organization weighed in on the controversy taking place away from the football field.

The team didn’t immediately issue a formal statement, but former Kansas City LGBTQ+ Commission chair Justice Horn called on the organization to speak up. “Members of our community deserve to know the values of this organization — an organization we all pay for,” he said via X. “This is a time for the team to lean in and embrace the community, not remain silent when groups of people are being harmed here locally.”

Keep reading to see what players and members of the NFL have to say about Butker’s message to graduates:

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NFL 

The NFL’s Chief Diversity Officer, Jonathan Beane, released a statement sharing that the organization did not agree with Butker’s remarks.

“Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity,” Beane said in a statement to Outsports. “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.”

Gracie Hunt

Gracie Hunt. John Parra/Getty Images for Raising Cane’s

While appearing on an episode of Fox & Friends, the Chiefs heiress was asked about Butker’s comments. “I can only speak from my own experience, which is I had the most incredible mom who had the ability to stay home and be with us as kids growing up,” Hunt said. “And I understand that there are many women out there who can’t make that decision but for me in my life, I know it was really formative in shaping me and my siblings to be who we are.”

When asked if she understood what Butker was trying to say, Hunt replied, “For sure, and I really respect Harrison and his Christian faith and what he’s accomplished on and off the field.”

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Tavia Hunt 

In a lengthy post shared via Instagram, Tavia, who is married to Kansas City Chiefs chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, shared her support for many of the values Butker championed in his speech.

“I’ve always encouraged my daughters to be highly educated and chase their dreams. I want them to know that they can do whatever they want (that honors God),” Tavia wrote. “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.”

Tavia also suggested that people should think about debating others instead of immediately criticizing them. “I also caution against taking things out of context,” she continued. “Sound bites overlaid with hateful comments are not what we want to model for our children or others. We need more dialogue (and VALUES, IMO) in this country and less hate.”

Chris Jones

Chris Jones. Ryan Kang/Getty Images

The Kansas City Chiefs defensive tackle appears to have his teammate’s back. “I love you @buttkicker7 ! My brotha ,” Jones wrote via X in response to a petition calling for Butker’s release from the Chiefs.

Brooke Schwartz 

Brooke, who is married to former Kansas City Chiefs player Mitch Schwartz, slammed the team’s kicker for his speech. “I’m going to sound controversial since Mitch was teammates with him for many years,” she said via her Instagram Stories. “I’ve stayed quiet about a lot of things, but this is absolutely so gross and backwards to me.”

In another Story slide, Brooke doubled down on her comments about the NFL player’s remarks, writing, “And telling young women on their college graduation day, after years of hard work, that the thing they probably most look forward to in life is becoming someone’s wife. I beg your pardon? I value and respect whatever a woman chooses for her life. But it is NEVER, EVER a man’s place to tell women what their roles are.”

Patrick Mahomes

During a press conference at the Chiefs’ OTAs practice, Mahomes praised Butker’s character.

“I’ve known him for seven years. I judge him by the character he shows every single day, and that’s a good person,” the Chiefs quarterback said. “That’s someone who cares about the people around him, cares about his family and wants to make a good impact in society.”

Mahomes continued, “When you’re in the locker room, there’s a lot of people from a lot of different areas of life and they have a lot of different views on everything. We’re not always going to agree and there’s certain things that he said that I don’t agree with, but I understand the person [who] he is and [that] he’s trying to do whatever he can to lead people in the right direction.”

Andy Reid

The Chiefs coach said during a press conference that he hadn’t spoken to Butker about the speech and noted that the team is made up of players with a wide range of viewpoints.

“I didn’t talk to him about [the speech]. We’re a microcosm of life here, from different areas, different religions, races and so we all get along and we all respect each other’s opinions,” Reid said. “We respect everybody to have a voice, that’s the great thing about America.”

By Michael

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