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NFL star Harrison Butker breaks silence on anti-LGBTQ+ speech

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NFL star Harrison Butker has said he stands by every word of his controversial commencement speech.

Earlier this month, the Kansas City Chiefs kicker told students at Benedictine College, in Atchison, Kansas, that he believed Pride month to be “sinful” and insisted that most of the female graduates would be happiest at wives and mothers.

He also targeted Joe Biden, claiming the US president 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”.

On Friday (24 May), in his first statement since the address, the three-time Super Bowl winner insisted that he has no regrets about the speech.

“Over the past few days, my beliefs, or what people think I believe, have been the focus of countless discussions around the globe,” he said at the Regina Caeli Academy Courage Under Fire gala, another Catholic institution, in Tennessee.

Harrison Butker during his commencement address.
Harrison Butker came under fire for his speech at a Catholic school. (YouTube/Benedictine College.)

“At the outset, many people expressed a shocking level of hate. But as the days went on, even those who disagreed with my viewpoints shared their support for my freedom of religion.

“If it wasn’t clear that the timeless Catholic values are hated by many, it is now. As to be expected, the more I’ve talked about what I value most, which is my Catholic faith, the more polarising I’ve become.”

Following Butker’s original speech, the NFL’s senior vice-president and chief diversity officer, Jonathan Beane, said that it did not represent the views of the football league.

“The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger,” Beane added.

Kansas City’s former LGBTQ+ commission chairman, Justice Horn, also addressed the comments, saying “Kansas City has always been a place that welcomes, affirms and embraces our LGBTQ+ community members… [Butker] doesn’t represent Kansas City, nor has he ever.”

During his speech on Friday, Butker said he accepts being criticised for his performances on the football field, but that he values his religion more than he does the sport.

“It’s a decision I’ve consciously made and one I do not regret at all,” he added.

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