A swift kick in the pants | WORLD
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A swift kick in the pants

Christian athletes should emulate Harrison Butker’s boldness on matters of faith

Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker celebrates after Kansas City's Super Bowl win on Feb. 12, 2023, in Glendale, Ariz. Associated Press/Photo by Charlie Riedel

A swift kick in the pants
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Harrison Butker says things even many of the most outspoken Christian athletes won’t say.

Frankly, I’ve gotta love the guy for that.

The Kansas City Chiefs’ placekicker is openly anti-abortion: When the Chiefs made their celebratory White House visit last year after beating the Philadelphia Eagles in Super Bowl LVII, he wore a tie designed by pro-life organization Live Action that featured the words “Vulnerari Presidio”—a Latin term meaning, “Protect the most vulnerable.” He also pulled no punches on that front in his commencement speech to graduating students at Kansas’ Benedictine College, a Catholic private school, in mid-May.

Here’s Butker ripping President Joe Biden—who unquestionably deserves it: “Our own nation is led by a man who publicly and proudly proclaims his Catholic faith, but at the same time is delusional enough to make the sign of the cross during a pro-abortion rally.” (Side note: I love that he said “pro-abortion” and not “pro-choice.” The latter term implies that opposition to abortion is opposition to freedom—one of many lies the left uses to win support for the murder of the unborn.)

When asked whether Butker will be invited to the White House when the Chiefs make their return visit this year, press secretary Karine Jean-Pierre responded, “Everyone on the team is invited.” I’ve got to give Jean-Pierre some credit there—that’s what true inclusion looks like.

Butker also voiced his opposition to the national pro-LGBT celebration known as Pride in his speech at Benedictine: Whereas athletes of various Christian denominations have understandably emphasized their love and respect for their LGBT neighbors and avoided mentioning the word “sin” when explaining their decisions not to participate in their teams’ Pride celebrations, Butker unabashedly condemned “the deadly sin sort of pride that has an entire month dedicated to it.” Butker’s speech at Benedictine called on men in the audience to “be unapologetic in your masculinity” and to “reject this lie that has been told to you that men are not necessary in your homes and in your communities.” He encouraged them to “fight against the cultural emasculation of men” and connected America’s epidemic of violence to America’s epidemic of fatherlessness. Anyone who’s heard the statistics correlating the absence of fathers in homes to high crime rates knows he isn’t wrong there.

Most controversial of all, though, is that Butker dared to suggest to women at Benedictine that perhaps they should reject the “girl boss” endeavors that society strongly urges them to pursue and that they may find greater fulfillment as wives and mothers, citing his wife as a chief example.

Men aren’t allowed to have such opinions, leftists say. And yet, those same leftists brand women who say the same things as traitors to their gender.

“It is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you,” Butker said. “How many of you are sitting here now, about to cross this stage, and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you are going to get in your career?

“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.”

Perhaps Butker’s sole mistake, if one can call it that, is that his words came from someone who isn’t a member of the fairer sex: Men aren’t allowed to have such opinions, leftists say. And yet, those same leftists brand women who say the same things as traitors to their gender.

Of course, as so often happens in our modern world, Butker’s words went viral. And of course, it sparked outrage, including from the Kansas City’s leaders. The city released private information about Butker to the public, making him a target for doxxing. Missouri’s attorney general, Andrew Bailey, has come to Butker’s aid on that front, vowing to go after the city for what he—rightly—considers an act of religious discrimination.

While not condemning Butker’s speech, the National Football League distanced itself from it in a faux show of so-called “respect” for its female fans. This is the same NFL that suspended Cleveland Browns quarterback Deshaun Watson for 11 games—conveniently timing his return for a game against his former team, the Houston Texans—in the face of damning allegations of sexual misconduct with more than two dozen women.

But here’s what the NFL likely did not expect: Just as sales of former Philadelphia Flyers hockey player Ivan Provorov’s jersey skyrocketed after he took his stance against Pride in January 2023, so did sales of Butker’s jersey. And according to Kansas City TV station KCTV, women’s Butker jerseys are selling out on Chiefs.com. And Chiefs coach Andy Reid has stood by his player.

Back in February, I was thrilled when Jake Moody, the kicker for my beloved San Francisco 49ers, kicked a 55-yard field goal, then the longest in Super Bowl history. I was then disappointed when Butker broke the record with a 57-yarder in the second half en route to a Chiefs victory—their second over the 49ers in the last five Super Bowls.

Now, though, I couldn’t be happier that the record belongs to Butker. More Christian athletes should follow his example, using their God-given platforms to proclaim God’s truths—no matter how unpleasant those truths may be, no matter what hostility comes their way.

Ray Hacke

Ray is a sports correspondent for WORLD who has covered sports professionally for three decades. He is also a licensed attorney who lives in Keizer, Ore., with his wife Pauline and daughter Ava.


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