NFL distances itself from Chiefs’ Harrison Butker’s Benedictine College speech

In response to the controversy surrounding Harrison Butker’s commencement speech at Benedictine College, the NFL distanced itself from the ideas expressed in the speech, saying the league doesn’t share the beliefs the Kansas City Chiefs kicker voiced while addressing the graduating students.

During the commencement speech, Butker referred to Pride Month as an example of the “deadly sins.” He also addressed gender ideologies and said a woman’s most important title is “homemaker.”

“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, Kan., saying he wanted the graduating class to prevent political leaders from interfering with social issues that impact their relationship with the church.

In response, NFL senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer Jonathan Beane said in a statement to The Athletic that Butker gave the 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. His statement was first reported by People.

The Chiefs declined to comment when reached Thursday by The Athletic.

While Pride Month, which is in June, falls outside the NFL’s season, 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 also among the many North American cities that host Pride events during June, led by the KC Pride Community Alliance.

Later Thursday, legendary college football coach and TV analyst Lou Holtz took to X to thank Butker “for standing strong in your faith values.”

“Your commencement speech at Benedictine College showed courage and conviction and I admire that,” Holtz wrote, later linking to a form from America First Works for people to sign and offer their thanks to Butker for his comments.

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(Photo: Ric Tapia / Getty Images)

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