Hate to say it, but the Chiefs’ Harrison Butker should stick to kicking footballs | Opinion

I usually loathe when people tell athletes to stick to sports for sharing their beliefs. But Kansas City Chiefs player Harrison Butker should absolutely stay away from social and political issues and focus on kicking leather footballs through the goalposts.

I spent about 20 minutes this week watching Butker’s commencement speech at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, over the weekend. Almost immediately, my mouth hit the floor. I shook my head in amazement that anyone, let alone an influential figure on the NFL’s best team, would promote such archaic views publicly.

The way I see it, if this screed was meant to motivate and uplift recent graduates of the private Catholic liberal arts college, Butker missed the mark. In football parlance, the speech, filled with misogyny and homophobic rhetoric, was wide right.

Almost from the start, Butker took aim at President Joe Biden, leaders in the Catholic Church, abortion rights and members of the LGBTQ community and its allies. He made a mockery of a woman’s right to earn a living, too.

“While COVID might have played a large role throughout your formative years, it is not unique,” Butker said in the speech to graduates. “The bad policies and poor leadership have negatively impacted major life issues. Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for the degenerate cultural values and media all stem from pervasiveness of disorder.

“Our own nation is led by a man who publicly and proudly proclaims his Catholic faith, but at the same time is delusional enough to make the sign of the cross during a pro-abortion rally.”

COVID lockdowns happened before Biden

Butker’s ire toward Biden and other pro-choice Catholics continued: “He has been so vocal in his support for the murder of innocent babies that I’m sure to many people, it appears you can be both Catholic and pro-choice. He is not alone. From the man behind the COVID lockdowns, to the people pushing dangerous gender ideologies onto the youth of America, they all have a glaring thing in common — they are Catholic. This is an important reminder that being Catholic alone doesn’t cut it.”

I’m young enough to remember that the COVID-19 pandemic originated during Donald Trump’s term as president. Local health directors followed protocols established by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in ordering lockdowns to reduce the spread of a disease that contributed to the deaths of more than 1 million Americans, according to CDC COVID-19 data.

In his own words, Butker is an avowed member of the Catholic Church and holds conservative views. I don’t know much about Catholicism or its doctrine. This is not an attack on religion — not even close. As Star Opinion Editor Yvette Walker wrote, Benedictine knew whom they asked to speak during commencement.

My issue with Butker is that he believed a graduation ceremony was the right platform to share his world views. It was not. In the process, he ostracized a lot of folks, including those in marginalized communities.

When he alluded to a recent Associated Press article on the state of American Catholicism and likened LGBTQ Pride to deadly sin, my heart ached for those he took exception to.

“I am certain the reporters at the AP could not have imagined that their attempt to rebuke and embarrass places and people like those here at Benedictine wouldn’t be met with anger but instead met with excitement and pride,” he said. “Not the deadly sin sort of pride that has an entire month dedicated to it but the true God-centered pride that is cooperating with the Holy Ghost to glorify him

In his oratory, Butker reduced women to child-bearing homemakers who should cast aside their career aspirations to kowtow to their husbands.

“I want to speak directly to you briefly, because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you,” Butker said to female graduates of Benedictine. “How many of you are sitting here now, about to cross this stage, and are thinking about all of the promotions and titles you are going to get in your career? 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.”

What a load of drivel, I thought. How must a young woman celebrating a crowning moment such as college graduation must feel after hearing that nonsense.

Multimillionaire player can be sole breadwinner

He continued: “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. I’m on this stage today and able to be the man I am, because I have a wife who leans into her vocation.

“I’m beyond blessed with the many talents God has given me, but it cannot be overstated that all of my success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school would convert to the faith, become my wife, and embrace one of the most important titles of all: homemaker.”

Butker is a seven-year veteran of the NFL. He makes a pretty good living as a kicker. In 2019, he signed a five-year contract extension with the Chiefs worth more than $20 million, according to Spotrac, a website that tracks professional sports contracts. This season, he will make about $4 million, according to the site.

With that type of money, Butker’s wife can afford to stay home. Not every family is as fortunate to have one person as the primary breadwinner. No man or woman should feel bad about their spouse working.

Perhaps there’s one aspect of the speech I agree with — when Butker’s said we all have a lane and we should stay in it, I nodded my head in agreement.

Butker should stick to kicking. He’s very good at it and gets paid well for his talent. Inclusiveness is not his strong suit.