Harrison Butker says 'I do not regret at all' controversial commencement speech

Harrison Butker found himself behind the lectern once again and stood by the much-derided comments he made during a commencement speech at Benedictine College earlier this month.

"Over the past few days, my beliefs – or what people think I believe – have been the focus of countless discussions around the globe," the Kansas City Chiefs kicker said Friday night at the Regina Caeli Academy "Courage Under Fire Gala" in Nashville, Tennessee. "At the outset, many 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 caused a stir this month during his speech at Benedictine to rail against Pride Month, the COVID-19 pandemic, transgender people and diminished the role women play in society.

"I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolic lies told to you," the three-time Super Bowl champion said on May 11. "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."

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker talks to the media during Super Bowl LVIII.
Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker talks to the media during Super Bowl LVIII.

Chiefs teammates Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce said they disagreed with Butker's comments but have known him for a long time and will judge him based on the relationship they have with him. Head coach Andy Reid said "we all respect each other’s opinions," and he added that Butker is expected to join the rest of the team in celebrating their Super Bowl 58 victory at the White House on Friday.

Butker said his job as a NFL kicker has made him familiar with the spotlight. Discussing his Catholic faith, however, has made him "more polarizing."

"It’s a decision I’ve consciously made and one I do not regret at all,” Butker said.

Regina Caeli is a Catholic, hybrid homeschool model of education for students ages pre-K through 12th grade.

Butker, 28, is a member of the Regina Caeli's board, he said. The theme of the event, "Courage Under Fire," was chosen months in advance, but Butker said it "feels providential after all we have witnessed these past few weeks."

"My hope is that tonight's theme and RCA's mission will embolden others," Butker said. "That many more will be unapologetic in their Catholic faith and never be afraid to speak out for truth, even when it goes against the loudest voices.

"Being disliked and mischaracterized by some is nothing compared to a lion's den."

This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Harrison Butker has no regrets over controversial commencement speech