Chiefs' Harrison Butker defends controversial commencement speech after facing backlash: "Never be afraid to speak out for truth"

Chiefs' Harrison Butker defends controversial commencement speech after facing backlash

The Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker has been on the receiving end of backlash after his commencement speech at Benedictine College in Atchinson, Kansas, went viral and grabbed the attention of many.

On Friday night, Butker spoke for the first time after his commencement speech, at the Regina Caeli Academy's Courage Under Fire gala in Nashville. The Chiefs kicker defended his words and emphasized his Catholic faith. He said that he has received both support and a "shocking level of hate" from people.

"If it wasn’t clear that the timeless Catholic values are hated by many, it is now," Butker said. "Over the past few days, my beliefs, or what people think I believe, have been the focus of countless discussions around the globe."
"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."

Butker said that he understood the criticism that stems from his on-field performances. The 28-year-old added that he values religion over football and doesn't regret anything he said in the commencement speech.

"But, as to be expected, the more I’ve talked about what I value most, my Catholic faith, the more polarizing I’ve become. It’s a decision I’ve consciously made, and one I do not regret at all."

Butker added:

"My hope is that tonight's theme and RCAs mission will embolden others, that many more will be unapologetic of their Catholic faith and never be afraid to speak out for truth, even when it goes against the loudest voices. In the end being courageous start starts with the small things."

Butker first went viral two weeks back when he took aim at Joe Biden's stance on abortion rights and the role of women in society, in his commencement speech.

The NFL and Chiefs teammates make stance clear on Harrison Butker's speech

The National Football League released a statement and said that Butker's comments and "views are not those of the NFL as an organization."

Harrison Butker's Kansas City Chiefs teammates Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce responded to the viral commencement speech. Mahomes said that although he knows Butker is a good person, he doesn't agree with everything Butker spoke.

Travis Kelce spoke on the topic as well. The three-time Super Bowl winning TE disgreed with majority of Butker's comments but defended his character.

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