100K Sign Petition Demanding Chiefs Fire Kicker Over ‘Dehumanizing’ Commencement Speech

Robin Alam/ISI Photos via Getty Images
Robin Alam/ISI Photos via Getty Images

A petition calling for the Kansas City Chiefs to dismiss kicker Harrison Butker has racked up over 100,000 signatures as of Thursday morning amid a furious backlash to a controversial commencement address he delivered at a Catholic college over the weekend.

The three-time Super Bowl champion spoke for around 20 minutes Saturday at Benedictine College, a conservative liberal arts school in Kansas, sharing his views on gender, COVID, abortion, and other topics. He reportedly received a standing ovation from his audience, but others, including the NFL, were much less enthusiastic about his comments.

Kansas City Chiefs Kicker Offends Just About Everyone in Conservative Religious Tirade

“The harmful remarks made by Harrison Butker, kicker of the Kansas City Chiefs, during his commencement address at Benedictine College were unacceptable,” reads the petition calling for the Chiefs to fire Butker. “His comments were sexist, homophobic, anti-trans, anti-abortion and racist. These dehumanizing remarks against LGBTQ+ individuals, attacks on abortion rights and racial discrimination perpetuate division and undermine human rights.”

Butker began his speech by saying that the “COVID fiasco” illustrated “how bad leaders who don’t stay in their lane can have a negative impact on society.” He also claimed that things “like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for degenerate cultural values and media,” stem from “the pervasiveness of disorder” in the U.S.

In a swipe at President Joe Biden, Butker continued: “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.” The athlete also decried what he claimed was Biden’s “vocal” support “for the murder of innocent babies” and castigated the “people pushing dangerous gender ideologies onto the youth of America.”

He went on to expatiate about “the most diabolical lies” told to women. “How many of you are sitting here now about to cross the stage, and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you’re going to get in your career?” Butker asked the young women in his audience. “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.”

He added that his wife “would be the first to say that her life truly started when she started living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.” His success, he said, was only made possible by her decision to convert to Catholicism and “embrace one of the most important titles of all: homemaker.”

Elsewhere in the speech, he also made an oblique attack on Pride Month, denouncing “the deadly sin sort of the pride that has an entire month dedicated to it.”

Amid the furor around Butker’s comments, an NFL executive made it really clear to The Daily Beast that the kicker was speaking “in his personal capacity.”

“His views are not those of the NFL as an organization,” Jonathan Beane, the organization’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, said in a statement. “The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

The petition characterizes Butker’s statements as reinforcing “harmful stereotypes that threaten social progress.”

“We demand accountability from our sports figures who should be role models promoting respect for all people regardless of their race, gender identity or sexual orientation,” it says. “We call upon the Kansas City Chiefs management to dismiss Harrison Butker immediately for his inappropriate conduct.”

The Daily Beast has contacted the Chiefs for comment.

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