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NFL responds to Harrison Butker’s controversial graduation speech

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Originally appeared on E! Online

The NFL is making it clear that Harrison Butker does not speak for them.

The Kansas City Chiefs kicker faced criticism for a May 11 commencement speech he gave at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kan., in which he touched on a number of topics from abortion to the role of women and LGBTQ+ rights.

Following the graduation address, the NFL clarified that Butker’s comments do not represent the league as a whole.

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

During his speech, Butker discussed various political and religious topics, and even quoted the song “Bejeweled” by Taylor Swift, the girlfriend of his teammate Travis Kelce.

Photos: Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce Celebrate Kansas City Chiefs’ 2024 Super Bowl Win

“Tragically, so many priests revolve much of their happiness from the adulation they receive from their parishioners. And in searching for this, they let their guard down and become overly familiar,” he “said. “This undue familiarity will prove to be problematic every time. Because as my teammate’s girlfriend says, ‘familiarity breeds contempt.'”

The 28-year-old also touched on the role he thinks women should play, saying that while many female graduates might “go on to lead successful careers in the world,” he believes more of them are “most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.” According to the athlete, his wife Isabelle Butker “would be the first to say her life truly started when she started living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.”

Butker—who shares two children with Isabelle—additionally took aim at the LGBTQ+ community, saying that Pride Month is “the deadly sin sort of pride,” and that the community promotes “dangerous gender ideologies.”

He also added that while the COVID-19 pandemic “might’ve played a large role throughout your formative years, it is not unique.”

“Bad policies and poor leadership have negatively impacted major life issues,” he continued. “Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for degenerate cultural values in media all stem from the pervasiveness of disorder.”

E! News reached out to reps for Swift, Butker and the Chiefs for comment but has yet to hear back.

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