Harrison Butker response proves Kansas City Chiefs kicker on wrong side of history

The average football fan may not now who Harrison Butker is. But they probably should. The three-time Super Bowl-winning kicker for the Patrick Mahomes-Travis Kelce era of the Kansas City Chiefs is looking to help his team do something that no team has ever done: win three straight Super Bowls.

But the kicker’s stellar performances on the field were overshadowed this weekend when Butker took the podium at a commencement ceremony at Benedictine College in Kansas and espoused viewpoints that might have made some wonder if he was instead playing for Hank Stram’s Chiefs teams of the 1960s. 

The kicker’s stellar performances on the field were overshadowed this weekend when Butker took the podium at a commencement ceremony at Benedictine College.

Standing in front of a graduating class that included many young women, the 28-year-old Butker claimed that while many women 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.” His wife, Butker continued, would agree. Her “life truly started when she started living her vocation as a wife and as a mother,” he told the Catholic private liberal arts school students. 

Not content to talk just about gender roles, Butker turned political as he criticized President Joe Biden and his Covid-19 policies. “Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for degenerate cultural values and media all stem from pervasiveness of disorder,” he continued. Calling June’s Pride Month “the deadly sin sort of pride,” Butker also specifically criticized the LGBTQ community, which he claimed promotes “dangerous gender ideologies.”

The NFL’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer said Butker’s remarks don’t reflect the views of the league. But that’s about it. The Chiefs? No comment. Butker? No further comment. Maybe that’s for the best for all involved.

In a day and age where hypocrisy has become as much the rule as the exception, I can’t help but wonder what Colin Kaepernick is thinking as he stares from afar at the recent backlash, or lack thereof. Kaepernick last played in an NFL game on New Year’s Day 2017. After a six-year run, including five as a starting quarterback and a trip to the Super Bowl, the San Francisco 49er star’s career was over at the age of 30 after he started speaking out about racial justice issues and police brutality.

We have to take a moment to recognize the blatant hypocrisy that exists in how players jumping into politics today are treated by the NFL and its teams versus the way they were treated less than a decade ago. Kaepernick’s career crashed and burned, with many cheering said crash on the grounds that athletes shouldn’t be weighing in on such weighty matters. Now, those hypocrites, many on the political right, sit idly by, or even worse, may applaud the ignorance of a kicker telling women to stay at home and pop out babies in a subservient manner while worshipping their husbands. The misogyny at play is staggering. 

And Butker’s comments are only the most dramatic example of players dabbling in the culture war swamp without major consequence. Jets vaccine- and Covid-denying quarterback Aaron Rodgers recently appeared on Tucker Carlson’s show praising Russian President Vladimir Putin’s grasp of history, while questioning whether Biden could do the same for the United States. This is the same Aaron Rodgers who has railed against vaccines, and who once reportedly suggested to a CNN reporter that the Sandy Hook school shooting massacre didn’t really happen.

Where are the protests? Where is Donald Trump, who personally attacked Kaepernick for taking a knee during the national anthem. Once again crickets. Crickets from a Jets organization whose owner was appointed to a fancy ambassador post by Trump himself.

NFL teams loathe distractions. At least, that was one of the many reasons we heard for why the league’s 32 teams punted on the idea of signing Kaepernick after he opted out of his contract with the 49ers following the 2017 season. Now, the league has decided to steal a play from the playbooks of politicians and corporations. Just wait it out. The outrage eventually subsides, and people move on. The Chiefs should part ways with Butker. The Jets should do the same with Rodgers. Instead, both teams will likely do nothing. And why shouldn’t they? It works every time.

First appeared on www.msnbc.com

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