KC Chiefs owner's wife says affirming motherhood 'not bigoted' amid Harrison Butker firestorm

Clark Hunt with his wife, Tavia Shackles, and daughter Gracie Hunt walking the red carpet at the Kansas City Chiefs ring ceremony at Union Station on June 15, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri.
Clark Hunt with his wife, Tavia Shackles, and daughter Gracie Hunt walking the red carpet at the Kansas City Chiefs ring ceremony at Union Station on June 15, 2023, in Kansas City, Missouri. | Jason Hanna/Getty Images

The wife and daughter of Kansas City Chiefs co-owner Clark Hunt offered their thoughts on motherhood as the team faces pressure to release kicker Harrison Butker over comments the Catholic athlete made in a college commencement speech. 

Though she didn't mention Butker by name, Clark's wife, Tavia Hunt, took to Instagram Thursday to declare that "[a]ffirming motherhood and praising your wife, as well as highlighting the sacrifice and dedication it takes to be a mother, is not bigoted."

"It is empowering to acknowledge that a woman's hard work in raising children is not in vain. Countless highly educated women devote their lives to nurturing and guiding their children."

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Butker's remarks during a commencement address at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, last weekend touched on a variety of political and hot-button issues and have prompted nationwide reactions as over 195,000 people have put their support behind a petition to the NFL and Chiefs calling for the three-time Super Bowl winner's release. The petition characterized Butker's speech as "sexist, homophobic, anti-trans, anti-abortion and racist."

While Butker's speech condemned President Joe Biden over his support for abortion and the embrace of "surrogacy, euthanasia as well as a growing support for degenerate cultural values" and "dangerous gender ideologies," Butker also directed a message to the females in the audience.

After discussing the role his wife plays in raising their children, Butker told the graduates: "I have seen it firsthand how much happier someone can be when they disregard the outside noise and move closer and closer to God's will in their life." Referring to his wife, Butker asserted that "Isabelle's dream of having a career might not have come true but if you ask her today if she has any regrets on her decision, she would laugh out loud without hesitation and say 'heck no.'"

Butker told the female graduates they have "had the most diabolical lies told" th them, predicting that "some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world" while "the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world."

In her Instagram post, Hunt stressed that "Someone disagreeing with you doesn't make them hateful."

"It simply means they have a different opinion," she wrote. "Let's celebrate families, motherhood and fatherhood. Our society desperately needs dedicated men and women to raise up and train the next generation in the way they should go."

Hunt included a quote from Proverbs 31:28-29, which reads, "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all." She insisted that "embracing the beautiful roles that God has made is something to celebrate."

"I also caution against taking things out of context." She described "sound bites overlaid with hateful comments" as "not what we want to model for our children or others," adding, "We need more dialogue (and VALUES, IMO) in this country and less hate."

"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). 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 great blessings this world has to offer. Studies show that committed, married couples with children are the happiest demographic, and this has been my experience as well."

The Hunts' daughter, Gracie Hunt, appeared on "Fox and Friends" on Friday and was asked to offer a reaction from the Hunt family on Butker's comments. She said, "I really respect Harrison and his Christian faith and what he's accomplished on and off the field."

"I can only speak from my own experience, which is I've 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 and my life, I know it was really formative and in shaping me and my siblings into who we are."

In a statement the NFL released this week, the NFL's senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, Jonathan Beane, said that Butker "gave a speech in his personal capacity."

"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," Beane said. 

Clark Hunt has not shied away from sharing his own Christian faith. He has often been seen praising God for the Chiefs' success in recent years. In 2019, he spoke at Andrew Palau's CityFest East Texas Men's Luncheon in Tyler, Texas, saying that he makes faith a top priority for his staff.  

"We want our employees to develop spiritually," Hunt was quoted as saying by The Tyler Morning Telegraph. "In the National Football League, Christ is really glorified. My identity is my faith in Christ."

Ryan Foley is a reporter for The Christian Post. He can be reached at:

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