Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker addresses commencement speech backlash: ‘I do not regret at all’

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Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker said he doesn’t have any regrets about his commencement address at Benedictine College earlier this month, saying in his first public comments since the speech that he received “a shocking level of hate” but also support for his views.

“It’s a decision I’ve consciously made and one I do not regret at all,” Butker said Friday night at the Regina Caeli Academy Courage Under Fire Gala in Nashville, Tenn.

Butker, in the commencement speech, referred to Pride Month as an example of the “deadly sins” and he wanted the graduating class to prevent political leaders from interfering with social issues that impact their relationship with the Catholic church. He also addressed gender ideologies and said a woman’s most important title is “homemaker.”

“It is you, the women, who have had the most diabolic lies told to you,” Butker said during the speech. “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.”

Butker also used the speech to criticize President Joe Biden on several issues, including abortion and the COVID-19 pandemic, and questioned Biden’s devotion to Catholicism.

“At the outset, many people expressed a shocking level of hate,” Butker said Friday. “But as the days went on, even those who disagreed with my viewpoints shared their support for my freedom of religion.”

Since Butker’s speech, several members of the Chiefs addressed the kicker’s comments. Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes said he doesn’t agree with all of Butker’s comments in the speech, but considers Butker a close friend and “good person.”

“I’ve known (Butker) for seven years,” Mahomes said. “I judge him by the character he shows every day and that’s a good person. … We’re not always going to agree. He said certain things I don’t agree with.”

Chiefs coach Andy Reid said that he believes Butker will go with the team to the White House on May 31 to celebrate its Super Bowl LVIII victory, despite the kicker’s views on Biden.

“I didn’t think I need to (address it). We’re a microcosm of life,” Reid said. “We all respect each other’s opinions. We all have a voice.”

Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce said he doesn’t agree with “the majority” of Butker’s commencement speech but he won’t judge the kicker by his views.

“He’s treated friends and family that I’ve introduced to him with nothing but respect and kindness,” Kelce said on Friday’s episode of his “New Heights” podcast. “And that’s how he treats everyone. When it comes down to his views and what he said (in his) commencement speech, those are his.”

A few days after Butker delivered his speech, the NFL released a statement distancing itself from his comments and said Butker’s views are not the same as the league as an organization.

When asked about Butker’s speech at the league meetings in Nashville, NFL commissioner Roger Goodell said the league has a “diversity of opinions and thoughts.”

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(Photo: Luke Hales / Getty Images)

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