Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker says Pride Month is example of ‘deadly sin’ during commencement speech

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, speaking during a commencement speech at Benedictine College, referred to Pride Month, the events in June demonstrating inclusivity and support for the LGBTQ+ community, as an example of the “deadly sins” as he advocated for a more conservative brand of Catholicism.

“Not the deadly sins sort of Pride that has an entire month dedicated to it,” Butker said, “but the true God-centered pride that is cooperating with the holy ghost to glorify him.”

Butker spoke for more than 20 minutes to students at the Catholic school in Atchison, Kansas, saying he wanted the graduating class to prevent political leaders from interfering with social issues that impact their relationship with the church.

Butker, 28, criticized an Associated Press article on America’s Catholic Church, which detailed the institution’s shift “toward the old ways.” It highlighted Benedictine’s rules that “seem like precepts of a bygone age,” which include “volunteering for 3 a.m. prayers” and “pornography, premarital sex and sunbathing in swimsuits being forbidden.”

Butker said the story was an “attempt to rebuke and embarrass” places like Benedictine, and that it would be met with “pride” instead of “anger.”

Benedictine, a college with more than 2,100 full-time undergraduates as of September 2022, describes itself as a liberal arts institution aimed at “the education of men and women within a community of faith and leadership.” Butker, who called on religious leaders “to stay in their lane and lead,” praised Benedictine for embracing what he called traditional Catholic values.

“When you embrace tradition, success, worldly and spiritual, will follow,” Butker said.

In October 2014, the school ordered basketball player Jallen Messersmith to remove a Pride flag from his dorm room window.

Butker also used the speech to criticize President Joe Biden on several issues, including abortion and the coronavirus pandemic, and questioned Biden’s devotion to Catholicism. Butker also addressed gender ideologies and said that a woman’s most important title is “homemaker.”

“It is you, the women, who have had the most diabolic lies told to you. 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 said.

The Chiefs did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

While the NFL isn’t in season during Pride Month, the league participates in LGBTQ+ initiatives. On the Wednesday before Super Bowl LVIII, the NFL hosted a “Night of Pride” event in partnership with GLAAD, the LGBTQ+ advocacy organization. The Chiefs are among the NFL teams that have a Pride selection of apparel with rainbow colors.

Kansas City is among the many North American cities that host Pride events during June, led by the KC Pride Community Alliance.

Butker is a three-time Super Bowl champion with the Chiefs. He was a seventh-round draft pick in 2017 and made 33 of 35 field goals in the 2023 season.

(Photo: Chris Unger / Getty Images)

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