Whoopi Goldberg Defends Harrison Butker After Controversial Graduation Speech

Whoopi Goldberg has come to the defense of Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker after his controversial commencement speech at Benedictine College’s graduation.

During The View on Thursday, May 16, Goldberg and her co-hosts discussed the ongoing backlash to the 28-year-old Butker’s comments.

Goldberg, 68, argued that the NFL player is entitled to share his beliefs, especially given he was speaking at a Catholic college.

“Listen, I like when people say what they need to say,” Goldberg began. “He’s at a Catholic college, he’s a staunch Catholic. These are his beliefs and he’s welcome to them. I don’t have to believe them. I don’t have to accept them. The ladies who were sitting in that audience do not have to accept them.”

The morning show host went on to compare Butker to former NFL player Colin Kaepernick, who famously kneeled during the national anthem in 2016. “The same way we want to represent when Colin Kaepernick takes a knee, we want to give respect to people whose ideas are different than ours,” Goldberg said.

Goldberg added that she’s “okay with” Butker saying “whatever he says,” and suggested that it was up to the female graduates he was addressing to take or leave his advice. “And the women who are sitting there, if they take his advice, good for them, they’ll be happy. If they don’t, good for them, they’ll be happy in a different way,” Goldberg said.

Moreover, Goldberg told viewers that it’s “an issue” for her when people are fired for sharing their beliefs. “I have the right to say what I say, he has the right to say what he says.”

“When you say to somebody, ‘I don’t like what you said and I’m going to get your job taken away because you disagree with me,’ for me, that is an issue. Because it does happen to us. It happens to us all the time. That is why I am standing up for him.”

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Harrison Butker, #7 of the Kansas City Chiefs.

Cooper Neill/Getty


In his graduation speech on May 11, Butker directly addressed the female graduates, saying, “For the ladies present today, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment. I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you.”

“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,” Butker said.

On Wednesday, the NFL said Butker’s views do not align with those of the league in a statement to PEOPLE. “Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity,” Jonathan Beane, the NFL’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, told PEOPLE in a written statement.

“His views are not those of the NFL as an organization. The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

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