Chiefs CEO’s Family Defends Harrison Butker: Affirming Motherhood ‘Is not Bigoted’

  • Michael Foust Crosswalk Headlines Contributor
  • Updated May 21, 2024
Chiefs CEO’s Family Defends Harrison Butker: Affirming Motherhood ‘Is not Bigoted’

The family of the Kansas City Chiefs CEO is defending placekicker Harrison Butker in light of a controversy surrounding his viral commencement speech. Butker, a three-time Super Bowl champion, has been labeled a bigot and a sexist within mainstream media and social media for a May 11 commencement address at Benedictine College in which he criticized "people pushing dangerous gender ideologies onto the youth of America" and encouraged graduates to embrace the roles God had given them.

Comments he made to female graduates have been the source of much of the controversy.

"How many of you are sitting here now about to cross the stage, and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you're going to get in your career? Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world," he said. "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."

Butker then said his wife, Isabelle, had "one of the most important titles of all: homemaker."

Tavia Hunt, the wife of Chiefs' chairman and CEO Clark Hunt, defended Butker's comments in an Instagram post even though she didn't mention his name. Her post came the same week that an online petition demanding his release drew 200,000 signatures.

"I've always encouraged my daughters to be highly educated and chase their dreams. I want them to know that they can do whatever they want (that honors God)," Tavia Hunt wrote. "But I also want them to know that I believe finding a spouse who loves and honors you as or before himself and raising a family together is one of the greatest blessings this world has to offer. Studies show that committed, married couples with children are the happiest demographic, and this has been my experience as well."

She urged fans to allow others to have different opinions without tossing around hurtful labels.

"Affirming motherhood and praising your wife, as well as highlighting the sacrifice and dedication it takes to be a mother, is not bigoted," she wrote. "It is empowering to acknowledge that a woman's hard work in raising children is not in vain. Countless highly educated women devote their lives to nurturing and guiding their children. Someone disagreeing with you doesn't make them hateful; it simply means they have a different opinion. Let's celebrate families, motherhood, and fatherhood. Our society desperately needs dedicated men and women to raise up and train the next generation in the way they should go."

Tavia Hunt then cited Proverbs 31:28: "Her children arise and call her blessed; her husband also, and he praises her: Many women do noble things, but you surpass them all."

Tavia Hunt's daughter, Gracie Hunt, also defended Butker.

"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," she told Fox News. "And I understand that there are many women out there who can't make that decision, but for me in my life, I know it was really formative in shaping me and my siblings to be who we are."

She added, "I really respect Harrison, his Christian faith, and what he's accomplished on and off the field."

Meanwhile, Butker's jersey is the most popular Chiefs jersey in the NFL shop, surpassing those of star teammates Patrick Mahomes and Travis Kelce.

Photo credit: ©GettyImages/ChrisUnger/Stringer

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chronicle, the Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.