Former Notre Dame Coach Lou Holtz Addresses Harrison Butker’s Polarizing Speech

Harrison Butker

Getty Lou Holtz weighed in on Harrison Butker's speech.

Former Notre Dame head coach Lou Holtz stands by Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker‘s head-turning commencement speech.

“Thank you @buttkicker7  for standing strong in your faith values,” Holtz wrote on X, formerly Twitter on May 16. “Your commencement speech at Benedictine College showed courage and conviction and I admire that. Don’t give in.”

Butker, who played college football at Georgia Tech, spoke at the Catholic college’s commencement on May 11 where he urged the graduates to live their faith lives in the world. He also expressed counter-cultural views on families, politics, and religious leaders in the process.

A seventh-round pick by the Carolina Panthers in 2017, Butker found a niche as kicker with the Chiefs and won three Super Bowl rings in the process. Butker has also been outspoken about his Catholic faith in public settings amid his NFL career.

Social media backlash ensued, including a petition for the Chiefs to release him over his comments. However, the daughter of Chiefs owner, Clark Hunt, showed support of Butker’s speech in an interview with FOX News. Tavia Hunt, Clark’s wife, also voiced her support of Butker in an Instagram post.

Lou Holtz Has Spoken at Commencements Since Irish Days

Holtz, who coached Notre Dame from 1986 to 1996, has spoken at college commencements himself over the years. He amassed a 249-132-7 record in his coaching career and led Notre Dame to its last national title in 1988. He also had stints with William & Mary, Arkansas, Minnesota, and South Carolina.

Holtz likewise has been public about his Catholic faith and support of Catholic colleges. He spoke at Benedictine in 2022, Christendom College in 2021, Franciscan University of Steubenville in 2015, and Notre Dame’s ACE program graduation in 2015.

5 Things Harrison Butker Said That Stirred the Pot

Butker hit on many points in his speech, but five of his points drew ire and praise across the U.S. in the past week.

He spoke specifically to male graduates at one moment where he urged masculinity. Butker is married and a father of two children.

“Other countries do not have nearly the same absentee father rates as we find here in the U.S., and a correlation could be made in their drastically lower violence rates as well,” Butker said. “Be unapologetic in your masculinity. Fight against the cultural emasculation of men. Do hard things. Never settle for what is easy. You might have a talent that you don’t necessarily enjoy, but if it glorifies God, maybe you should lean into that over something that you might think suits you better.”

Butker likewise spoke specifically to the female graduates. Those comments notably drew support from the Hunts later.

“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.

“I can tell you that my beautiful wife, Isabelle, would be the first to say that her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother,” he added. “I’m on this stage today and able to be the man I am because I have a wife who leans into her vocation. I’m beyond blessed with the many talents God has given me, but it cannot be overstated that all of my success is made possible because a girl I met in band class back in middle school, who would convert to the faith, become my wife and embrace one of the most important titles of all: homemaker.”

Butker also commented on LGBTQ+ and trans practices. The NFL, which has been supportive of people with those practices, released a statement that Butker doesn’t reflect the league’s views.

“Benedictine has gone from just another liberal arts school with nothing to set it apart to a thriving beacon of light … I’m certain the reporters at the AP could not have imagined that their attempt to rebuke and embarrass places and people like those here at Benedictine wouldn’t be met with anger, but instead met with excitement and pride, not the deadly sin sort of pride that has an entire month dedicated to it, but the true God-centered pride that is cooperating with the Holy Ghost to glorify him,” Butker said.

Butker also talked about birth control and having families.

“It is imperative that this class, this generation, in this time in our society must stop pretending that the things we see around us are normal,” Butker said.

“Heterodox ideas abound, even within Catholic circles. Let’s be honest, there is nothing good about playing God with having children, whether that be your ideal number or the perfect time to conceive,” Butker continued. “No matter how you spin it, there is nothing natural about Catholic birth control. It is only in the past few years that I have grown encouraged to speak more boldly and directly because as I mentioned earlier, I have leaned into my vocation as a husband and father and as a man.”

Lastly, Butker touched on his perceived issues with President Joe Biden. The Chiefs kicker led in with COVID-19, the president’s policies, and talked about how he sees the president’s faith and political actions not aligning.

“I’m sure your high school graduation was not what you had imagined and most likely neither was your first couple years of college,” Butker said. “By making it to this moment through all the adversity thrown your way from COVID, I hope you learned the important lesson that suffering in this life is only temporary,” he said. “As a group, you witnessed firsthand how bad leaders who don’t stay in their lane can have a negative impact on society.”

“Bad policies and poor leadership have negatively impacted major life issues, Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for degenerate cultural values in media, all stem from the pervasiveness of disorder,” Butker continued. “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. He has been so vocal in his support for the murder of innocent babies that I’m sure to many people it appears that you can be both Catholic and pro-choice.”

“This is an important reminder that being Catholic alone doesn’t cut it,” Butker added. “These are the sorts of things we’re told in polite society to not bring up The difficult and unpleasant things. But if we are going to be men and women for this time in history, we need to stop pretending that the ‘Church of Nice’ is a winning proposition. We must always speak and act in charity, but never mistake charity for cowardice.”

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