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(LifeSiteNews) — More than 220,000 people have signed a petition calling on the Kansas City Chiefs to release kicker Harrison Butker over his May 11 commencement speech to graduates of Benedictine College, while LifeSiteNews’s own petition in support of the Catholic athlete currently stands at 17,620.

The 28-year-old Super Bowl champion set off a national conversation in his speech to the religious school, where he touched on numerous current political and cultural divisions, including self-proclaimed “Catholic” politicians supporting abortion, COVID lockdowns, and LGBT ideology as well as contemporary messages directing young girls away from family in the name of career.

The speech led to a wave of support from conservative listeners and condemnation from left-wing voices. The National Football League (NFL) distanced its “commitment to inclusion” from Butker’s “personal” opinions, and a group of left-wing nuns associated with the school, the Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica, condemned his “narrow definition of what it means to be Catholic.” At the same time, sales of his jersey skyrocketed (including among women), and LifeSite’s petition standing with Butker gained more than 10,000 signatures in just its first day.

However, a petition urging the Chiefs to fire the player for his “dehumanizing” remarks has gained 220,229 signatures as of the time of this writing.

“His comments were sexist, homophobic, anti-trans, anti-abortion and racist,” reads the petition, “reinforc(ing) armful stereotypes that threaten social progress” and “creat(ing) a toxic environment that hinders our collective efforts towards equality, diversity and inclusion in society.”

The petition declares that Butker’s “types” of “attitudes contribute significantly towards societal issues such as hate crimes which have been on the rise in recent years” and “increased mental health issues among targeted communities.” In fact, a wealth of evidence indicates that gender confusion carries mental health harms even when “affirmed,” and actual “anti-trans” crime statistics are not only miniscule compared with hate crimes against other minority groups, they are based on reports that do not establish whether the perpetrators were motivated by or even knew about their victims’ transgender status.

“We call upon the Kansas City Chiefs management to dismiss Harrison Butker immediately for his inappropriate conduct,” the petition concludes. The Chiefs are not expected to release Butker, and in fact team CEO Clark Hunt’s wife Tavia Hunt and eldest daughter Gracie both spoke out in support of the Catholic player.

“Affirming motherhood and praising your wife, as well as highlighting the sacrifice and dedication it takes to be a mother, is not bigoted. It is empowering to acknowledge that a woman’s hard work in raising children is not in vain,” said Tavia, while Gracie said she “really respect(s) Harrison and his Christian faith and what he’s accomplished on and off the field.”

Despite the petition’s slim odds of achieving its desired result, and the ease with which left-wing activists have been known to artificially inflate online petition results, the daunting tally is being used as a talking point to generate perceptions that Butker’s views are fringe. LifeSiteNews continues to collect signatures for its petition standing with him against cancellation.

Click here to sign LifeSite’s petition to “stand with this faithful Christian man as the media and intolerant liberals push for his cancelation.”