Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker faced backlash this week for delivering a commencement speech at Benedictine College infused with his faith-based perspectives. Despite his impressive 94% field-goal conversion rate last season, critics, including ESPN NFL broadcaster Sam Ponder, expressed discontent over Butker’s remarks on various topics such as women, IVF, President Biden, COVID, and abortion.

Ponder denounced the petition calling for Butker’s dismissal, labeling it as “totally un-American” in an Instagram Q&A. She defended Butker’s right to express his Catholic views to a Catholic audience, advocating for respectful disagreement rather than punitive measures.

Acknowledging her agreement with some of Butker’s points, particularly regarding women prioritizing family over career, Ponder shared her personal perspective, emphasizing the profound significance of motherhood in her life. However, she also articulated her disagreement with certain aspects of Butker’s speech, asserting the value of a fulfilled life as a single woman in the workplace.

Despite their differing viewpoints, Ponder expressed admiration for Butker’s Christian faith and his contributions both on and off the football field. She reflected on her own upbringing, acknowledging the impact of her stay-at-home mother while also recognizing the diversity of circumstances that shape women’s choices.

In essence, Ponder’s response epitomizes a call for understanding, respect, and the recognition of diverse perspectives in the discourse surrounding Butker’s controversial speech.