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Gossip & Rumors: Patricia Heaton Defends Harrison Butker After Graduation

GOSSIP & RUMORS: Patricia Heaton defends Harrison Butker after graduation speech

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Patricia Heaton stuck up for National Football League star Harrison Butker after his graduation speech at Benedictine College stirred up controversy.

The “Everybody Loves Raymond” actress, 66, posted an Instagram video Saturday where she defended Butker, 28, and declared that everybody who is upset about his comments needs to “relax.”

“I don’t understand why everyone’s knickers are in a twist,” Heaton said at the start of her video. “He gave a commencement speech, the audience applauded twice during the speech and gave him a standing ovation at the end. So clearly, they enjoyed what he was saying.”

Patrica Heaton at the “Shelter In Solitude” premiere in Nashville on September 26, 2023. Getty Images
Harrison Butker speaking at Benedictine College’s 2024 graduation. BenedictineCollege

Butker, the kicker for the Kanas City Chiefs, gave a 20-minute address at the graduation ceremony in Atchison, Kansas on May 11 where he railed against working women, Pride Month, abortion and other issues, leading to swift backlash on social media.

But Heaton explained that Butker was merely “espousing his own opinions and Catholic doctrine.”

“So what? It’s his opinion,” she said. “He can have one. He’s not a monster for stating what he believes. He went after bishops much more than he went after women or what women’s choices are or what he thinks they should be. So, I don’t understand.”

Patricia Heaton in an Instagram video from May 18, 2024. patriciaheaton/Instagram

Heaton continued: “I am a Catholic woman, who worked through my kids’ childhood and I believe God opened those doors for me. Thankfully, it was a schedule that allowed me to also be a full-time mom, basically. I find nothing offensive about what he said, even though my life is very different. He might even look at my life and say that’s not the way it should be. That’s okay. That’s his opinion.”

Patricia Heaton defended Harrison Butker’s controversial college graduation speech. patriciaheaton/Instagram
Harrison Butker plays for the Kansas City Chiefs. Kyle Terada-USA TODAY Sports

The Emmy Award winner said she’s “curious” as to why people got “offended” by Butker’s comments, and that their strong reactions against him were not warranted.

“If you have made choices in your life and you feel those are the right choices and you’re comfortable and they’re working out for you and your family, great,” she added. “And if they’re different from his, that’s great. You do you. He’ll do him and his family. Relax, everybody.”

Patricia Heaton after winning an Emmy Award in 2000. Getty Images

Butker didn’t hold back at Benedictine College’s graduation when he referred to Pride Month as an example of “the deadly sins” taught in church and abortion, in vitro fertilization and surrogacy as examples of “degenerate cultural values.”

The football player, whose mother is an accomplished physicist, addressed the women in the audience, telling them that their “most important title” should be “homemaker.”

“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,” he said.

Harrison Butker got backlash for his comments at Benedictine College. BenedictineCollege
Harrison Butker playing for the Kanas City Chiefs on November 6, 2022. Getty Images

Butker’s comments prompted widespread backlash on social media.

Celebrities like Maren Morris, Flavor Flav, Maria Shriver, and Hoda Kotb spoke out against Butker.

On the flip side, Whoopi Goldberg came to Butker’s defense on the May 16 episode of “The View,” arguing that the football player is entitled to his opinion.

“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,” Goldberg said.

But Goldberg’s “The View” co-hosts — including Joy Behar and Alyssa Farah Griffin — didn’t agree with her. They took Butker to task for his comments, with Behar saying that the athlete needs to “get a therapist.”

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