Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker deserves all the mockery heaped on him. | Kirby Lee-USA TODAY Sports

The controversy won’t die over the commencement address by Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, where he slammed the LGBTQ community, “degenerate cultural values,” IVF, abortion, Joe Biden and Dr. Anthony Fauci, all while going on an extended rant saying women best serve society as homemakers.

The reaction has been furious and largely negative. The NFL told Outsports it believed in inclusion and disagreed with what Butker said. The Chiefs have not issued any official statement, but the wife of Chiefs owner Clark Hunt, Tavia Hunt, weighed in with a defense of Butker to declare that “motherhood is not bigoted” (no one said it was).

My favorite response was from the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, because they have a stake in this.

“The sisters of Mount St. Scholastica do not believe that Harrison Butker’s comments in his 2024 Benedictine College commencement address represent the Catholic, Benedictine, liberal arts college that our founders envisioned and in which we have been so invested,” the post read. “Instead of promoting unity in our church, our nation, and the world, his comments seem to have fostered division.”

There are dueling petitions, one demanding Butker be fired and the other supporting him. That’s pretty predictable, harmless and silly.

The Chiefs are not going to cut Butker for what he said at Benedictine College. He’s too valuable to them. In the 2022 season, his last-second field goals won the AFC Championship Game and then the Super Bowl. In this past Super Bowl, he kicked a Super Bowl-record 57-yard field goal. Butker only gets cut when he becomes either too expensive (few kickers demand a premium) or starts missing makeable field goals.

There is a larger issue, though, for people calling on Butker to be fired — it’s the wrong approach.

I found Butker’s comments odious, homophobic and sexist, like listening to a man speak in 1724 and not 2024. His remarks about women were his most expansive and offensive (you can read his whole speech here).

Despite all this, Butker has the right to free speech. He gave the speech at the invitation of a private college on his own time. He is not in any position of authority — he’s a kicker (even his quarterback, Patrick Mahomes, doesn’t talk to him during the season). He cannot decide public policy.

I would feel differently had Butker harassed a specific person or uttered a slur on the field. In the former case, legal action could be warranted and in the latter case, the NFL could have weighed in with punishment.

He’s just one more ignoramus who has become the darling of the right that loves anyone who triggers people who believe in equal rights and diversity (his jersey has become a hot item and is trending on NFL.com shopping). Demanding he be fired just plays into the desire to play the victim.

Instead, people who disagree with his comments should mock, heap scorn upon him and boo him at games. That’s using your power of free speech to greatest effect. Take a cue from D. Rashaan Gilmore, founder of BlaqOut, a Kansas City nonprofit geared to serving the city’s Black LGBTQ+ community. As he told a Fox affiliate:

“Nobody was spared,” Gilmore said with laughter while recycling the comments back in his head. “The thing that was the most galling for me was that he thinks that what he said was courageous. That wasn’t courageous nor was it bold. What is bold, what is courageous, what takes true bravery, is to show up each and every day in society, in your own life as who you fully are, as your full self. And that’s what so many trans and queer people in this community and all over, do.”

I love that Gilmore was described as “laughing.” That’s one reaction Butker deserves.

As a Chargers fan, I already have a bias against the Chiefs, so knowing that they employ a retrograde sexist and homophobe who would fit in perfectly in a place like Russia or Saudi Arabia makes it easier to justify my rooting against them. I just need to order a voodoo doll, paint a red No. 7 jersey on it, slap on a beard and put it to use come Sept. 5 when the Chiefs’ season starts.