Over 100K demand KC Chiefs release Harrison Butker over Catholic college commencement speech

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker gives the commencement address at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, on May 11, 2024.
Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker gives the commencement address at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, on May 11, 2024. | Screenshot: YouTube/Benedictine College

A petition circulating online has amassed over 100,000 supporters calling for the release of Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker after the practicing Catholic referenced abortion, LGBT issues and President Joe Biden during a recent commencement speech critics deemed "discriminatory remarks."

On Monday, a user named Willard Harris started a petition on calling for Butker's dismissal, declaring that the kicker's "dehumanizing remarks" were "sexist, homophobic, anti-trans, anti-abortion and racist." The petition had reached over 128,000 signatures as of Thursday afternoon. 

The three-time Superbowl winner delivered the commencement address Saturday at Benedictine College, a Roman Catholic school in Atchison, Kansas. Butker is outspoken about his Catholic beliefs and stated during the address that he has only "grown the courage to speak more boldly and directly" in the last few years. 

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Butker referenced a "deadly sin sort of pride that has a month dedicated to it," referring to LGBT pride month. He also criticized President Joe Biden, a professed Catholic, for supporting abortion. Butker urged attendees to "stop pretending that the Church of nice is a winning proposition."

"We must always speak and act in charity but never mistake charity for cowardice," Butker declared. "As members of the Church founded by Jesus Christ, it is our duty and ultimately privilege to be authentically and unapologetically Catholic. Don't be mistaken. Even within the Church, people in polite Catholic circles will try to persuade you to remain silent."

The petition alleges that the kicker's remarks "reinforce harmful stereotypes that threaten social progress."

"They create a toxic environment that hinders our collective efforts towards equality, diversity and inclusion in society," the petition reads. "It is unacceptable for such a public figure to use their platform to foster harm rather than unity."

At one point during his speech, Butker said that some Catholic leaders are "pushing dangerous gender ideologies onto the youth of America." He also directly addressed the women in the crowd, claiming that they are the ones who have had "the most diabolical lies" told to them. 

"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," he said. 

In a statement published Wednesday by, 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. 

The NFL did not immediately respond to The Christian Post's request for comment. 

On Thursday, Lauren Muzyka, president and CEO of Sidewalk Advocates for Life, one of the nation's largest pro-life sidewalk outreach organizations, stated on X that she did not find Butker's remarks offensive. 

"I'm a career woman — the Lord hasn't given us children yet — and I didn't take [Butker's] speech to mean that wives are obligated to become 100% homemakers," Muzyka wrote. "I just heard him elevate it to a fulfilling, noble calling. Strong women also want strong men. Why is this a threat?"

Butker has spoken openly about his faith and opinions before. During a March interview with EWTN News, the Superbowl champion said he has been changing habits to become the "best father" and "best husband" possible. The young father said that prays the rosary with his family in the evening and takes his children to mass.

"I think we need strong fathers in the home," Butker said, commenting on a shooting at a Kansas City Chiefs Victory Parade on Ash Wednesday. 

"I think we need men that are leading, that are setting good examples, that are teaching the young men in our society that violence is not the way to handle our disputes," he continued. "It's very unfortunate what happened. Unfortunately, many, many children were injured, a beautiful young lady was killed over someone getting offended and turning to violence to handle that dispute."

Samantha Kamman is a reporter for The Christian Post. She can be reached at: Follow her on Twitter: @Samantha_Kamman

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