No regrets: Butker stands by speech, says backlash shows Catholic values ‘hated by many’

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker said the backlash over his commencement speech extolling traditional marriage roles should be a wake-up call for Catholics.

Mr. Butker addressed the uproar for the first time since the May 11 graduation address at Benedictine College, breaking his silence Friday at an annual gala hosted by the Regina Caeli Academy in Nashville. He also serves on the school’s board.

“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,” said Butker. “If it wasn’t clear that the timeless Catholic values are hated by many, it is now.”

The 28-year-old Pro Bowler said he has no regrets over the commencement speech in which he encouraged female graduates to consider embracing the role of homemaker and male graduates to be active fathers. He also took a jab at Pride Month.

He said that “as to be expected, the more I’ve talked about what I value most, which is my Catholic faith, the more polarizing I have become.”

“It’s a decision I’ve consciously made, and one I do not regret at all,” he said. “If we have truth and charity, we should trust in 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.”

He continued: “Glorifying God and not ourselves should always remain our motivation despite any pushback, or even support.”

Celebrities including Maria Shriver, Hoda Kotb and Jenna Bush unloaded on Butker, while the NFL fired off a statement distancing itself from the three-time Super Bowl winner and reiterating its steadfast “commitment to inclusion.”

The official Kansas City account on X revealed information about Butker’s residence, a practice known as doxing, before removing the post and apologizing. Missouri Attorney General Andrew Bailey is investigating.

Harrison Butker responds to criticism of his pro-life, pro-family message and says his only goal is to please Jesus.

“Not people, but Jesus Christ I’m trying to please.” pic.twitter.com/UFrstUpLrg

— LifeNews.com (@LifeNewsHQ) May 25, 2024

Butker said that 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.”

They included Chiefs quarterback Patrick Mahomes and tight end Travis Kelce.

“We’re not always going to agree, there are certain things that he said that I don’t necessarily agree with, but I understand the person that he is, and he’s trying to do whatever he can to lead people in the right direction,” Mahomes said after Wednesday’s team practice.

Chiefs head coach Andy Reid called the NFL a “microcosm of life” with people from “different areas, different religions, different races. And so we all get along, we all respect each other’s opinions.”

Kelce said he disagreed with most of what Butker said, but called him “a great person and a great teammate” during his Friday “New Heights” podcast with his brother Jason Kelce.

Jason Kelce said Butker gave “a commencement speech at a Catholic university, and, shocker, it ended up being a very religious and Catholic speech.”

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