Jersey Sales Climb After Player's Speech

Harrison Butker's graduation address makes his merchandise more popular
By Bob Cronin,  Newser Staff
Posted May 17, 2024 3:20 PM CDT
Kicker's Jersey Climbs NFL Sales List
Harrison Butker watches his field goal during the second half of an NFL wild-card playoff football game against the Miami Dolphins on Jan. 13 in Kansas City, Mo.   (AP Photo/Charlie Riedel)

Harrison Butker jerseys are in greater demand since the Kansas City Chiefs kicker addressed the role of women, COVID policies, and much more in a commencement speech last weekend—and there's no indication that consumers intend to wear them ironically. In sales, Butker was trailing only Chiefs tight end Travis Kelce, running ahead of star quarterback Patrick Mahomes. A Rally House store in Kansas City was sold out of Butker shirts, KCTV reports. Aaron Lewis, the store's manager, said the demand was driven by Butker's speech to Benedictine College graduates.

"My first two phone calls were about jerseys, T-shirts, jerseys, anything we had Butker-wise," Lewis said, adding that "it's been men and women—it's been both calling to get his jersey." Missouri Sen. Josh Hawley is among those who have made supportive comments about Butker, per the Guardian. "We need a different generation of kids that are willing to say no that's not right, there is such a thing as right and wrong," he said. The NFL and the Benedictine order that founded the college have said his positions do not reflect their values.

A petition calls for the Chiefs to drop the player, whose comments included telling women their most important job is to be a homemaker. A shopper in Kansas City acknowledged Butker's right to say "whatever he wants" but said the fact that "so many people think it's a good thing to say those things is depressing." (Another NFL team tweaked Butker over his views.)

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