Super Bowl star ‘homemaker’ speech sparks backlash

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By Rachel Looker
BBC News

An NFL star has courted controversy by telling female graduates that one of their most important roles in life will be “homemaker”.

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker also criticised abortion and LGBT Pride marches in a speech at Benedictine College, Kansas.

His team has not reacted to the three-time Super Bowl champ’s comments. The NFL said it was a “personal” matter.

Nearly 160,000 people have signed a petition for the 28-year-old’s firing.

In his 20-minute address last Saturday, he said to women graduates at the Catholic private college that they had been told “the most diabolical lies”.

“Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world,” he said.

“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 added that his wife’s life had “truly started” when “she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother”.

He added that Isabelle Butker had embraced “one of the most important titles of all: homemaker”. Speaking about his marriage, he appeared to become emotional.

His speech also attacked IVF, surrogacy, “degenerate cultural values”, “dangerous gender ideologies” and “the tyranny of diversity, equity and inclusion”.

“Our nation is led by a man who publicly and proudly proclaims his Catholic faith, but… has been so vocal in his support for the murder of innocent babies,” he said in a reference to President Joe Biden.

The football league distanced itself from the remarks, saying they were given “in his personal capacity… his views are not those of the NFL”.

The LGBT advocacy group GLAAD called Butker’s speech “woefully out of step with Americans”.

Many social media users also criticised the NFL star.

Stefanie Hills, a former NFL cheerleader for the Chiefs, said on TikTok: “The best part of your speech when you said ‘stay in your lane’ ten plus times. Bro, take your own advice.”

But his remarks were cheered by many conservatives. And even staunchly liberal comedian Whoopi Goldberg defended Butker’s right to express his views.

“These are his beliefs and he’s welcome to them,” she told her co-panellists on ABC’s The View.

“I don’t have to believe them. Right? I don’t have to accept them.”

Chiefs’ quarterback Patrick Mahomes told The Pat McAfee Show, a radio programme, that he didn’t often speak to his teammate.

“Honestly, I don’t talk to Harrison all year long, man. I just let him do his thing,” Mahomes said.

Meanwhile, Missouri’s top prosecutor vowed to investigate the alleged doxxing on Wednesday of Butker through a social media account run by Kansas City’s government.

The message, which revealed the neighbourhood in which the Butker family lives, was posted from a public account on X, formerly Twitter, that is controlled by the city.

Attorney General Andrew Bailey said the investigation would look into whether the post had violated the Missouri Human Rights Act and targeted Butker for “daring to express his religious beliefs”.

It was deleted after about two hours. Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas has apologised for the message, calling it “clearly inappropriate”.

Butker has played for the Chiefs since 2017. He broke the Chiefs’ franchise record in 2022 with a 62-yard field goal and helped the team win its first Super Bowl of 50 years in 2020.

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