Former ESPN Personality Sage Steele Defends Harrison Butker After 'Homemaker' Speech

Harrison Butker kicking the football

Former ESPN personality and podcaster Sage Steele has spoken on Harrison Butker's controversial commencement speech, defending the NFL kicker.

As The Blast reported, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker gave a commencement speech at Benedictine College, a private Catholic institution in Kansas, where he specifically addressed the female graduates, encouraging them to be like his wife, whom he praised for embracing the significant role of "homemaker."

Despite his comments about female roles, Sage Steele, who is a practicing Catholic, has defended Butker.

Harrison Butker Talks Gender Roles During 2024 Commencement Speech

Harrison Butker kicking the football

In his speech to the 2024 graduating class, Butker told the students, "You are sitting at the edge of the rest of your lives. Each of you has the potential to leave a legacy that transcends yourselves and this era of human existence. In the small ways, by living out your vocation, you will ensure that God's Church continues and the world is enlightened by your example."

He then addressed the women directly, "because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you." While he said that some of the ladies "may go on to lead successful careers in the world" he speculated 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 began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother," he added, seemingly indicating that women should stay home and become "homemakers" to live out their vocation.

Sage Steele Defends Harrison Butker After 2024 Graduation Speech


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Former ESPN personality Sage Steele released a video on YouTube, coming to Butker's defense. “Why are we judging one person based on his opinion?” she asked her viewers. “Why did the NFL feel the need to release a statement basically saying they don’t align with Harrison’s views?”

Steele also expressed disappointment with, which "put out a petition to try to get Harrison Butker fired because of his opinions.”

Steele then addressed the NFL kicker directly. “Harrison Butker, thank you for your courage. Don’t change, we need you," she concluded.

Other People Who Have Defended Harrison Butker

Harrison Butker at NFL Super Bowl XLVIII Media Week

Steele is not the only public figure to speak out and defend the Kansas City Chefs star. Lou Holtz, the former coach of the University of Notre Dame’s Fighting Irish football team, recently took to X, the social media platform formerly known as Twitter, to side with Butker.

“With courage and clarity, Butker championed the timeless virtues of family, faith, and the sanctity of life. His bold proclamation of a pro-family, pro-God, and pro-life worldview resonated deeply, reminding us of the enduring strength found in our foundational beliefs," he expressed.

"Harrison’s speech was not just words but a call to action — a directive to embrace our vocations over mere cultural expectations, guiding young minds towards paths of purpose and integrity," the former coach added.

Butker's teammate, Chris Jones also showed support following the controversy. "I love you @buttkicker7! My brotha," the defensive lineman said.

ESPN NFL Broadcaster Sam Ponder Weighs In On Harrison Butker's Speech

While some have defended Butker after his speech, others do not entirely agree with what he said, including Sam Ponder, former ESPN broadcaster.

"Personally, I agreed with a few things he said … especially that most women are more excited/proud of their families than their day jobs," she said. "I love my job and have worked my butt off (and slept in my car) to get here, but it’s not even comparable to how I feel about being a mom! ESPN will not be with me on my deathbed. When did that become offensive?"

"I disagreed with a few things he said, too. I do not think my life ‘began’ when I became a wife and mom. I think you can live totally fulfilled purposeful life as a single woman in the workplace!" Ponder added. "Frankly, I think I could have had an equally meaningful life if I never got married/became a mother. I’m so proud to be an American where he can share his beliefs openly."

Harrison Butker Tells The Men To 'Be Unapologetic In Your Masculinity'

Harrison Butker on the football field

In addition to addressing the women directly, Butker also spoke to the men, telling them to "do hard things."

"Be unapologetic in your masculinity, fighting against the cultural emasculation of men. Do hard things. Never settle for what is easy. You might have a talent that you don't necessarily enjoy, but if it glorifies God, maybe you should lean into that over something that you might think suits you better," the NFL star said.