Whoopi Goldberg Defends Harrison Butker’s Controversial Commencement Speech: “These Are His Beliefs”

Whoopi Goldberg and other View panelists are weighing in on Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker’s recent controversial commencement speech at Benedictine College.

The NFL player was slammed on social media this week for his speech to graduating students at the private Catholic school, where he condemned abortion, euthanasia, IVF, surrogacy and the LGBTQ community, as well as suggested that women should embrace being a “homemaker.”

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After bringing up the controversy on Thursday’s episode of The View, Goldberg went on to defend Butker’s right to free speech, even if she doesn’t share the same beliefs and perspective.

“I like when people say what they need to say,” the EGOT winner said. “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 that were sitting in that audience don’t have to accept them.”

She continued, “The same way we want respect when Colin Kaepernick takes a knee, we want to give respect to people whose ideas are different from ours because the man who says he wants to be president, You-Know-Who, he says the way to act is to take away people’s right to say how they feel. We don’t want to be that. We don’t want to be those people.”

While The View co-host Sara Haines also disagreed with Butker’s comments, she said she doesn’t think people should be “shut down or fired” for their views, referencing calls for the Chiefs player to be removed from the team.

However, Haines disagreed with Goldberg’s comparison to Kaepernick, the former football star who sparked controversy in 2016 among conservatives after he refused to stand up during the National Anthem at NFL games in protest of police brutality in America.

“Colin Kaepernick was standing up for the rights of many and saying, in a social justice moment, this is a reminder that we’re not there yet,” she said, adding that Butker’s words are “divergent from the majority of Catholics.”

Panelist Alyssa Farah Griffin later said that while there were some things she “agreed with,” she took issue with many points, including his LGBTQ and homemaker remarks.

“He chose to target the LGBTQ community. There was a way you could speak with humility about the beliefs you stand for, but you can’t alienate certain parts of the scripture,” she explained. “I have this huge issue with this tradwife homemaker thing. What a remarkable privilege. If you get to marry an NFL kicker who wins the Super Bowl, you too might get to be a homemaker in this economy!”

Sunny Hostin also expressed that she felt Butker’s words were “problematic,” especially toward the LGBTQ community. “He said it was sinful behavior,” Hostin said. “When the Pope, the leader of the Catholic church, basically has done more for the LGBTQ community than any in Catholic history.”

While Butker took aim at President Joe Biden’s policies as he’s also a Catholic, Hostin noted that Biden “understands there’s a difference in church and state.”

After hearing the other panelists’ thoughts, Goldberg continued to emphasize that Butker “has the right to say what he says.” She added, “When you say to somebody, ‘I don’t like what you said, and so I’m going to get your job taken away because you disagree with me,’ for me that’s an issue. It happens to us all the time.”

Following the backlash online, the NFL released a statement regarding Butker’s speech, noting that it was in his “personal capacity.”

“His views are not those of the NFL as an organization,” Jonathan Beane, the NFL’s senior vp and chief diversity and inclusion officer, said in a statement. “The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

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