Harrison Butker of the Kansas City Chiefs speaks to the media during Super Bowl LVIII Opening Night at Allegiant Stadium on February 05, 2024 in Las Vegas, Nevada Source: Chris Unger/Getty Images

NFL Distances Itself from Chiefs Kicker Harrison Butker's Homophobic Speech

Kilian Melloy READ TIME: 3 MIN.

The NFL swiftly put daylight between itself and a May 11 graduation speech at a conservative Catholic college by Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker that was decried as homophobic and misogynistic.

"On Wednesday, NFL Chief of Diversity Officer Jonathan Beane told Outsports that Butker's remarks do not reflect the league's values," UK newspaper the Daily Mail reported.

Beane provided the LGBTQ+ athletics site with a "written statement," the Mail relayed, in which he declared that the 28-year-old NFL player gave the speech "in his personal capacity," and said that Butker was not speaking on behalf of the league.

"His views are not those of the NFL as an organization," Beane wrote, adding that "The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger."

Not to hear Butker tell it, though.

As previously reported, the kicker declared in his address that Pride month activities are a reflection of one of the so-called Seven Deadly Sins, and called for "the true God-centered pride that is cooperating with the holy ghost to glorify him."

Glossing over the role of former president Donald Trump, under whose watch the country suffered a devastating pandemic, Butker leveled criticism at President Joe Biden for the health crisis. He also went after Biden – a fellow Catholic – for his support of women's reproductive freedoms, which have been severely curtailed by the Supreme Court's overturning of Roe v. Wade, the 1973 Court ruling that found women enjoy a Constitutional right to bodily autonomy when it comes to questions of reproduction.

Telling the college's young men to "Be unapologetic in your masculinity" and to "fight... against the cultural emasculation of men," the footballer encouraged the male students to "lean into" capacities that bring glory to God "over something that you might think suits you better."

Butker also offered the opinion that men are the proper stewards of society and their role is to "set the tone" – an unsurprising stance considering his suggestion, also offered in the speech, that the ideal role for women is in the home, tending to husband and children.

Indeed, although Butker offered congratulations to the college's female graduates, he followed up at once with claims that women had been told "diabolical lies" about what they should want from life.

"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?" Butker asked the young women of the college. "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 went on to describe the personal benefits he attributed to assigning women the lifetime task of helpmeet to a man. Speaking for his wife Isabelle, whom he posited "would be the first to say her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother," Butker told the college's graduates that he was "able to be the man that I am, because I have a wife who leans into her vocation" – a vocation Butker called "one of the most important titles of all: Homemaker."

When it came to Taylor Swift dating Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, however, the best thing Butker could think of to call her was "my teammate's girlfriend."

Critiquing Catholic clergy he seemed to feel are too personally friendly with church congregants, Butker told his audience, "This undue familiarity will prove to be problematic every time because as my teammate's girlfriend says, familiarity breeds contempt."

Butker reportedly received a standing ovation for his address, but away from the rarefied confines of the college the rest of the world had diverse opinions – especially on social media.

"They had issue with Kaepernick taking a knee for racial injustice," one X user tweeted, "yet this guy is applauded for telling women their degrees aren't worth anything."

"To have the nerve to tell all the female graduates in that room that they just wasted 4 years of their life and so much money when they completed the same coursework as the men... Absolutely ridiculous," another agreed.

Here's a sample of what others had to say:

by Kilian Melloy , EDGE Staff Reporter

Kilian Melloy serves as EDGE Media Network's Associate Arts Editor and Staff Contributor. His professional memberships include the National Lesbian & Gay Journalists Association, the Boston Online Film Critics Association, The Gay and Lesbian Entertainment Critics Association, and the Boston Theater Critics Association's Elliot Norton Awards Committee.

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