Whoopi Goldberg defends Harrison Butker after controversial graduation speech

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By Asiya Ali

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Whoopi Goldberg has defended Harrison Butker’s widely condemned commencement speech.

The Kansas City Chiefs player sparked heavy criticism earlier this week with his address to the graduating students at Benedictine College on Saturday (May 11).

During his speech, the 28-year-old appeared to take aim at the LGBTQ+ community, working women, surrogacy, and abortion rights.

“It is safe to say that over the years, I have gained quite the reputation for speaking my mind,” the kicker said before attacking “dangerous gender ideologies” and President Biden’s “bad policies and poor leadership".

Watch Butker's controversial speech below:

Butker, who has made his Catholic beliefs well known, told the audience that "things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for degenerative cultural values in media all stem from the pervasiveness of disorder".

He also denounced President Joe Biden’s policies, including his response to Covid-19, and spoke out against Pride month, the annual celebration designed to recognize the influence of the LGBTQ+ community, saying that it was an example of the “deadly sins".

In addition, the three-time Super Bowl champ addressed the women in the graduating class, advising them of their “most important title” as a “homemaker”.

Butker also had a message for the male graduates, telling them to “be unapologetic in your masculinity” and “fight against the cultural emasculation of men".

He later referenced Taylor Swift's 2022 song 'Bejeweled,' saying: “As my teammate's girlfriend says, ‘familiarity breeds contempt.'"

The NFL has condemned Harrison Butker's speech. Credit: Cooper Neill / Getty

Butker's speech was met with backlash on social media, with many calling for the kicker to be removed from Kansas City's football team.

One user on X (formerly Twitter) wrote: "This is atrocious. I hope someone with the Chiefs pulls him aside and instills empathy and humanity into him. Hell, cut his a**, too. As talented as he is, you can find a kicker that’s not [homophobic] and misogynistic pretty easily, I bet."

Journalist Maria Shriver told him to learn “dignity and respect," in a lengthy statement, penning: “As a woman who has leaned into my vocation of living a meaningful life inside and outside the home to not only raise good humans but also raise up our country in various ways, I think it’s demeaning to women to imply that their choices outside of wife and motherhood pale in comparison to that of a homemaker."

Following the negative reception to the address, the NFL condemned the athlete's speech, saying that his views differed from those of the organization.

“Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity,” Jonathan Beane, the NFL’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer told 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," he added.

Many people are calling for the kicker to be removed from the NFL team. Credit: Ryan Kang / Getty

During Thursday’s (May 16) episode of The View, Whoopi Goldberg defended Butker’s right to free speech, whether or not she agreed with his opinions.

"I like when people say what they need to say. He’s at a Catholic college, he’s a staunch Catholic. These are his beliefs and he’s welcome to them," she explained. "I don’t have to believe them, I don’t have to accept them, the ladies that were sitting in that audience don’t have to accept them."

Watch Goldberg defend Butker below:

The Sister Act star compared the controversy to former NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s campaign of kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality.

“The same way we want respect when Colin Kaepernick takes a knee, we want to give respect to people whose ideas are different from ours because the man who says he wants to be president, You-Know-Who, he says the way to act is to take away people’s right to say how they feel. We don’t want to be that, we don’t want to be those people,” she added.

Meanwhile, co-host Sara Haines disagreed with the content of Butker’s speech but noted that she didn’t believe that he should lose his job as a result of the backlash.

She also contended that the commencement could not be treated in the same way as Kaepernick’s kneeling because the ex-athlete "was standing up for the rights of many".

Sunny Hostin, who is a Catholic, also criticized the Chiefs player for his words regarding the LGBTQ+ community.

Credit: Manoli Figetakis / Getty

However, the Oscar-winning actress still defended Butker, saying he “has the right to say it” publicly. 

“When you say to somebody, ‘I don’t like what you said, so I’m going to get your job taken away because you disagree with me,’ for me, that’s an issue. It happens to us all the time,” she concluded.

Featured image credit: Gary Gershoff / Getty

Whoopi Goldberg defends Harrison Butker after controversial graduation speech

vt-author-image

By Asiya Ali

Article saved!Article saved!

Whoopi Goldberg has defended Harrison Butker’s widely condemned commencement speech.

The Kansas City Chiefs player sparked heavy criticism earlier this week with his address to the graduating students at Benedictine College on Saturday (May 11).

During his speech, the 28-year-old appeared to take aim at the LGBTQ+ community, working women, surrogacy, and abortion rights.

“It is safe to say that over the years, I have gained quite the reputation for speaking my mind,” the kicker said before attacking “dangerous gender ideologies” and President Biden’s “bad policies and poor leadership".

Watch Butker's controversial speech below:

Butker, who has made his Catholic beliefs well known, told the audience that "things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for degenerative cultural values in media all stem from the pervasiveness of disorder".

He also denounced President Joe Biden’s policies, including his response to Covid-19, and spoke out against Pride month, the annual celebration designed to recognize the influence of the LGBTQ+ community, saying that it was an example of the “deadly sins".

In addition, the three-time Super Bowl champ addressed the women in the graduating class, advising them of their “most important title” as a “homemaker”.

Butker also had a message for the male graduates, telling them to “be unapologetic in your masculinity” and “fight against the cultural emasculation of men".

He later referenced Taylor Swift's 2022 song 'Bejeweled,' saying: “As my teammate's girlfriend says, ‘familiarity breeds contempt.'"

The NFL has condemned Harrison Butker's speech. Credit: Cooper Neill / Getty

Butker's speech was met with backlash on social media, with many calling for the kicker to be removed from Kansas City's football team.

One user on X (formerly Twitter) wrote: "This is atrocious. I hope someone with the Chiefs pulls him aside and instills empathy and humanity into him. Hell, cut his a**, too. As talented as he is, you can find a kicker that’s not [homophobic] and misogynistic pretty easily, I bet."

Journalist Maria Shriver told him to learn “dignity and respect," in a lengthy statement, penning: “As a woman who has leaned into my vocation of living a meaningful life inside and outside the home to not only raise good humans but also raise up our country in various ways, I think it’s demeaning to women to imply that their choices outside of wife and motherhood pale in comparison to that of a homemaker."

Following the negative reception to the address, the NFL condemned the athlete's speech, saying that his views differed from those of the organization.

“Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity,” Jonathan Beane, the NFL’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer told 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," he added.

Many people are calling for the kicker to be removed from the NFL team. Credit: Ryan Kang / Getty

During Thursday’s (May 16) episode of The View, Whoopi Goldberg defended Butker’s right to free speech, whether or not she agreed with his opinions.

"I like when people say what they need to say. He’s at a Catholic college, he’s a staunch Catholic. These are his beliefs and he’s welcome to them," she explained. "I don’t have to believe them, I don’t have to accept them, the ladies that were sitting in that audience don’t have to accept them."

Watch Goldberg defend Butker below:

The Sister Act star compared the controversy to former NFL star Colin Kaepernick’s campaign of kneeling during the national anthem in protest of police brutality.

“The same way we want respect when Colin Kaepernick takes a knee, we want to give respect to people whose ideas are different from ours because the man who says he wants to be president, You-Know-Who, he says the way to act is to take away people’s right to say how they feel. We don’t want to be that, we don’t want to be those people,” she added.

Meanwhile, co-host Sara Haines disagreed with the content of Butker’s speech but noted that she didn’t believe that he should lose his job as a result of the backlash.

She also contended that the commencement could not be treated in the same way as Kaepernick’s kneeling because the ex-athlete "was standing up for the rights of many".

Sunny Hostin, who is a Catholic, also criticized the Chiefs player for his words regarding the LGBTQ+ community.

Credit: Manoli Figetakis / Getty

However, the Oscar-winning actress still defended Butker, saying he “has the right to say it” publicly. 

“When you say to somebody, ‘I don’t like what you said, so I’m going to get your job taken away because you disagree with me,’ for me, that’s an issue. It happens to us all the time,” she concluded.

Featured image credit: Gary Gershoff / Getty