Rolling Out

Whoopi Goldberg says Chiefs’ player has a right to his beliefs

‘These are his beliefs and he’s welcome to them,’ Goldberg says of Harrison Butker’s controversial graduation speech
Whoopi Goldberg
(Photo credit: / Kathy Hutchins)

Whoopi Goldberg has never been one to mince her words.

The outspoken actress and television host is not unfamiliar with taking a less-than-popular stance on certain issues, and her words in defense of Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker after his recent controversial commencement speech at Benedictine College certainly fall into that category.

During his graduation ceremony speech on May 11, Butker spoke directly to the female graduates of the class, 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.”

On the Thursday, May 16 episode of “The View,” a topic was Butker’s speech. Given the setting of the speech at a Catholic college, Goldberg shared that she’s OK with the 28-year-old athlete speaking his mind even if she doesn’t agree with him.

“Listen, I like when people say what they need to say,” Goldberg 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 sitting in that audience do not have to accept them.”

“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,” she added.

Despite Butker’s words being widely viewed as sexist and misogynistic, Goldberg believes it is up to the individual female graduates being addressed to either take or leave his advice.

“And the women who are sitting there, if they take his advice, good for them, they’ll be happy,” Goldberg reasoned. “If they don’t, good for them, they’ll be happy in a different way.”

Goldberg also made it clear that it’s “an issue” to her when people lose their jobs for sharing their beliefs.

“I have the right to say what I say, he has the right to say what he says,” Goldberg said in conclusion. “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.”

After word of Butker’s comments spread, the NFL quickly distanced itself from the controversy, telling People that the Super Bowl champion’s words don’t align with the league’s values.

“Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity,” said Jonathan Beane, the league’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, via 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.”

Notify of
Inline Feedbacks
View all comments
Join our Newsletter

Sign up for Rolling Out news straight to your inbox.

Read more about:
Also read
Rolling Out