Harrison Butker backlash: Thousands sign petitions asking NFL kicker be fired

The fallout from Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker‘s controversial commencement address continues to grow, and now the NFL player finds himself in the crosshairs of multiple petitions calling for him to be fired.

FILE - Harrison Butker #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs warms up prior to Super Bowl LVIII against the San Francisco 49ers at Allegiant Stadium on February 11, 2024 in Las Vegas, N.V.

In case you missed it, Butker raised a bunch of fury with a speech he delivered to graduating students at Benedictine College in Kansas last weekend. The address touched on a range of issues taken up by Christian conservatives, including Pride month, women’s roles in the home, abortion and in vitro fertilization.

He attacked what he called “dangerous gender ideologies” in a reference to Pride month and compared the celebration to “deadly sins,” called President Joe Biden “delusional” and criticized his leadership during the pandemic and, most controversially, told the women graduates in the crowd that their “most important title” should be that of “homemaker.”

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“I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolic lies told to you,” Butker said. “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. I can tell you that my beautiful wife Isabelle would be the first to say that her life truly started when she started living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.

“All of my success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school would convert to the faith, become my wife and embrace one of the most important titles of all: homemaker,” he continued while choking back tears.

To say his remarks have not gone over well in more liberal circles would be an understatement.

After his speech went viral, multiple Change.org petitions were created, demanding that the Chiefs release him. As of publication time, the most prolific petition has more than 130,000 signatures.

“The harmful remarks made by Harrison Butker, kicker of the Kansas City Chiefs, during his commencement address at Benedictine College were unacceptable,” the petition description reads. “His comments were sexist, homophobic, anti-trans, anti-abortion and racist. These dehumanizing remarks against LGBTQ+ individuals, attacks on abortion rights and racial discrimination perpetuate division and undermine human rights.”

Travis Kelce speaks next to kicker Harrison Butker during the press conference on the DFB Campus.

The petition said it wants “accountability from our sports figures who should be role models promoting respect for all people regardless of their race, gender identity or sexual orientation.”

While the NFL has addressed the backlash, the Chiefs have not.

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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 ABC News and other outlets. “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.”

Noticing the Chiefs’ silence, fans took to a Wednesday post from the team announcing a Christmas Day game and voiced their concerns.

“No response is a response. Tell us more about that kicker guy,” one user wrote.

“I probably can’t watch because I will be too busy in the kitchen cooking for my husband and not utilizing my three advanced degrees,” another chimed in.

“I live in KC. I’m a woman. I’m a single mother. I am a home owner. I graduated with my Doctorate degree on Sunday. I am so much more than a mother. My son and I will not support the Chiefs again until you speak out AND remove that Gilead wannabe stain on society from your team,” another fan wrote, invoking Margaret Atwood’s dystopian novel, The Handmaid’s Tale, where woman have been stripped of their legal rights and men control all facets of their lives.

LGBTQ2 advocacy organization GLAAD also slammed Butker for his anti-gay comments.

“Traditionally, commencement speeches are meant to celebrate and inspire graduates and their families. Kansas City Chiefs player Harrison Butker’s commencement speech was not only a clear miss, it was inaccurate, ill-informed, and woefully out of step with Americans about Pride, LGBTQ people and women,” a statement from GLAAD on Wednesday reads. “Those with expansive platforms, especially athletes, should use their voices to uplift and expand understanding and acceptance in the world.

“Instead, Butker’s remarks undermine experiences not of his own and reveal him to be one who goes against his own team’s commitment to the Kansas City community, and the NFL’s standards for respect, inclusion, and diversity across the League.”

Butker’s own city, however, took it a step too far, and apologized after posting a message on social media revealing where the kicker lives, Fox News reports.

The official social media account for Kansas City shared an apology to X Wednesday evening.

Source: globalnews

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