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Calls to remove Harrison Butker from Chiefs after speech ‘totally un-American,’ ESPN’s Sam Ponder says

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Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker gave a commencement speech at Benedictine College that included remarks on various social issues from a Catholic perspective.

This prompted criticism and a petition seeking to remove Butker from the Chiefs.

ESPN broadcaster Sam Ponder defended Butker’s right to espouse traditional Catholic views to a Catholic audience, while acknowledging she disagreed with some of his stances.

Ponder argued censoring or firing Butker for his beliefs would be un-American.

“I think the petition that he should be fired from the Chiefs is totally un-American,” Ponder wrote. “Is a Catholic espousing traditionally Catholic views to a Catholic audience really that shocking?! Why can’t we just respectfully disagree?!”

“Personally I agreed with a few things he said … especially that most women are more excited/proud of their families than their day jobs. I love my job and have worked my butt off (and slept in my car) to get here, but it’s not even comparable to how I feel about being a mom! ESPN will not be with me on my deathbed. When did that become offensive?”

“I disagreed with a few things he said, too. I do not think my life ‘began’ when I became a wife and mom. I think you can live totally fulfilled purposeful life as a single woman in the workplace! Frankly I think I could have had an equally meaningful life if I never got married/became a mother. I’m so proud to be an American where he can share his beliefs openly,” Ponder said.

Gracie Hunt, daughter of Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt, also defended Butker and respected his Christian faith, noting the positive impact of her own mother being able to stay home while she was growing up.

“Well, I can only speak from my own experience, which is I’ve had the most incredible mom who had the ability to stay home and be with us as kids growing up. And I understand that there are many women out there who can’t make that decision. But for me and my life, I know it was really formative and in shaping me and my siblings into who we are,” Hunt said.

“I really respect Harrison and his Christian faith and what he’s accomplished on and off the field,” she said.

While opinions differed on parts of Butker’s speech, his religious freedom to speak at a Catholic college was defended.

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