Whoopi Goldberg defends NFL star Harrison Butker amid speech backlash: ‘These are his beliefs’

Whoopi Goldberg has defended NFL star Harrison Butker after he delivered a graduation speech in which he branded Pride month “sinful”, and told women students that they would be happiest as wives and mothers.

The actor addressed Butker’s sexist and anti-LGBTQ+ comments from his speech on the 16 May episode of The View, after a petition to axe the sportsperson from the Kansas City Chiefs garnered over 168,000 signatures.

The athlete said in his speech that students should have “true God-centred pride, not the deadly sins sort of Pride that has an entire month dedicated to it,” added the Chiefs’ kicker, who also attacked the Democrats’ stance on abortion.

Although the Ghost star said she doesn’t “understand what he’s talking about,” she explained her view of respecting other people’s opinions, even if they are different.

“Listen, I like when people say what they need to say. He’s at a Catholic college, he’s a staunch Catholic, these are his beliefs, and he’s welcome to them,” she said. “We wanna give respect to people whose ideas are different from ours.”

She added: “I’m OK with him saying whatever he says, and the women who were 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. That’s my attitude.”

Goldberg then spoke about the public’s response and its attempt to remove him from the Superbowl-winning team, which Taylor Swift’s boyfriend Travis Kelce also plays for, adding that he should not lose his job over the comments. 

She said: “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 so I’m gonna get your job taken away, because you disagree with me,’ for me, that is an issue.”

The host spoke on similarities between the backlash Butker has been subjected to, and her own experience working on the talk show panel. “It happens to us all the time! That is why I am standing up for him… But I have to say, just like I have my opinions, we have our opinions.”

However, the other co-hosts rightly commented on his “problematic” opinions of the LGBTQ+ community, with fellow co-host Sunny Hostin adding: “I thought what was most problematic certainly was what he said about the LGBTQ community, and he said it was sinful behaviour.”

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