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Petition calling for Chiefs to ax Harrison Butker slammed as ‘un-American’

Kansas City Chiefs Kicker Harrison Butker sent shockwaves through the world of sports and politics after his speech at Benedictine College’s commencement ceremony.  In his speech, Butker drew on his Catholic faith and discussed a number of issues plaguing Western culture, such as gender roles, abortion, and more.

Predictably, Butker’s comments have triggered backlash from the left, which has criticized his stances. A petition was launched calling for the Chiefs to dismiss the kicker from the team. However, Butker has received an outpouring of praise and defense over his brave comments from a variety of prominent figures, such as ESPN NFL broadcaster Sam Ponder.

Ponder blasted the petition as being “un-American,” stating that Butker has the right to express his beliefs.  “I think the petition that he should be fired from the Chiefs is totally un-American,” she commented on the controversy via an Instagram story. “Is a Catholic espousing traditionally Catholic views to a Catholic audience really that shocking?! Why can’t we just respectfully disagree?!”

The broadcaster noted that Butker made several points that aligned with her own values, such as women finding greater purpose in motherhood.  Ponder explained that, despite working so hard to get to where she is in her career, raising children was far more important to her.

Ponder continued, “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?”

Many on the internet — as well as the nuns associated with the Catholic college in Atchison, Kan. — have called out the three-time Super Bowl champ, who in his address condemned Pride month and abortion, bemoaned diversity initiatives, and encouraged women to prioritize getting married and having kids over pursuing careers.

The sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, for instance, took Butker to task for opting against “promoting unity in our church, our nation, and the world,” noting that his comments “have fostered division.”

“One of our concerns was the assertion that being a homemaker is the highest calling for a woman,” their statement read. “We sisters have dedicated our lives to God and God’s people, including the many women whom we have taught and influenced during the past 160 years. These women have made a tremendous difference in the world in their roles as wives and mothers and through their God-given gifts in leadership, scholarship, and their careers.”

But some, including ESPN NFL broadcaster Sam Ponder, have ripped the petition to fire Butker as “totally un-American.”

However, Ponder did say she disagreed with a few things in Butker’s speech, namely that she does “not think my life ‘began’ when I became a wife and mom” — something Butker said was the case for his wife.

But regardless of where their opinions may differ, Ponder said she was “so proud to be an American where he can share his beliefs openly.”

Gracie Hunt, the daughter of Chiefs CEO Clark Hunt, also pushed back against calls to remove Butker during an appearance on “Fox & Friends” on Friday, pointing to her own “really formative” experience having a mother who was a homemaker.

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

The NFL responded to the controversy on Wednesday, saying Butker’s “views are not those of the NFL” and that the organization remains “steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

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