Harrison Butker addresses family life, gun violence, Taylor Swift, and more in far-reaching interview

Harrison Butker Harrison Butker on the sideline of the AFC Championship in Baltimore on January 28, 2024. | Credit: Wikimedia Commons

Super Bowl-winning kicker Harrison Butker shared a simple — but countercultural — message when he delivered a graduation speech at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, last year. 

“Get married and start a family,” the Kansas City Chiefs NFL star told the new graduates. 

Outspoken about his Catholic faith for several years, Butker garnered headlines during the 2023 Super Bowl when fans noticed he was wearing a scapular — a brown woolen sacramental from the Carmelite tradition, worn around the neck as a sign of consecration to Mary. 

In addition to Butker’s devotion to the Traditional Latin Mass, the 28-year-old father of two frequently promotes his pro-life convictions as well as the importance of marriage and family life, frequently emphasizing the importance of prioritizing his vocation as a husband and father.  

In an interview Friday with Mark Irons on “EWTN News in Depth,” Butker said he wants to encourage men, especially fathers, to “be courageous, to not be afraid to be the leader.”

“It’s something that we struggle with, I think, a lot of times to go outside of our comfort zone and to say, ‘You know what? God has called me to be a leader, and to lead by example. I’m going to lead my household and I’m going to lead outside the world when I’m evangelizing.’ So that’s something that I’m very passionate about,” Butker told “EWTN News in Depth.”

“I think Our Lord needs to be king. He needs to be front and center. And as Catholics, we have to be unapologetically proud of our faith and of Jesus Christ.”

Addressing several topics in the interview, Butker spoke out against the violence that erupted last month at the Feb. 14 parade in Kansas City celebrating the Chiefs’ Super Bowl victory. A dispute between revelers escalated into a shooting that claimed the life of Lisa López-Galván, a local radio DJ, mother of two, and a parishioner at Sacred Heart-Guadalupe Parish in Kansas City. 

Butker said he later learned that López-Galván was wearing a football jersey with Butker’s number when she was shot. He said he subsequently gifted López-Galván’s family one of his own jerseys, and she was buried in it. 

Butker said although he didn’t know López-Galván, he said he hopes that “she appreciated the fact that I was a Catholic, that I was outspoken for my faith.”

“To be able to receive that encouragement, that love, even though I never met her, I heard that from her family, how much she was encouraged by me and loved all my work. That’s just very encouraging for me to continue on the path that I’m on and to be never unwavering in my beliefs,” Butker said.

Expressing deep sorrow over the violence, Butker said the shooting incident demonstrated the need for strong father figures to set positive examples.

“I think we need strong fathers in the home. I think we need men that are leading, that are setting good examples, that are teaching the young men in our society that violence is not the way to handle our disputes,” he said.

Butker was asked about another recent news item, also from February, whereby Catholics expressed outrage over a controversial and irreverent funeral service for a well-known transgender advocate that was held at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City. 

Cardinal Timothy Dolan — who oversaw a Mass of reparation at the cathedral after the funeral — later said that the cathedral “had absolutely no idea about this” and that the archdiocese does not “do FBI checks on people who want to be buried.”

Butker said he sent Dolan a letter encouraging him to take a “strong stance” against the irreverent actions that took place during the funeral. 

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“We need men that are leading saying, ‘This is not right. This is wrong. As Catholics, we will not accept this.’ We need to take a hard stance. I think sometimes we value what the world says about us instead of what Jesus Christ says about us,” Butker said.

Addressing the ongoing and soon-to-be culminating Eucharistic Revival taking place in the United States, Butker said he personally was encouraged in his belief in the Eucharist when, while in the process of returning to the faith, he attended a Catholic conference and got the opportunity to spend time in Eucharistic adoration with thousands of other people. 

Butker said the truth about the Eucharist “can’t be promoted enough.”

“I think a lot of Catholics who prioritize adoration and time with Our Lord in daily Mass and daily Communion and confession … I think they see this big growth in their spiritual life, because they are allowing themselves to fully immerse themselves in the Church and her sacraments.”

“I’m very excited for the Eucharistic Congress,” he added, referring to the upcoming national event set for July 17-21. 

Asked about Taylor Swift — the ubiquitous pop star currently dating teammate Travis Kelce — Butker described her as “so humble and so gracious” when he met her for the first time at a New Year’s Eve party. 

“I was a little nervous to meet Taylor Swift. I mean, it’s Taylor Swift, so maybe I’m a ‘Swifty’ if I was nervous to meet her, but it was a great experience, and I can’t say enough great things about her,” he said. “And I hope [she and Kelce] get married and start a family.”

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