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Football Player Walks Onto Field with ‘Daughters’ on Senior Day After Both His Parents Passed Away

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On Saturday, Michigan State University football player Josh Butler entered Spartan Stadium for the final time, with his two dogs by his side.

Traditionally, Senior Day is a time for players and their families to run onto the field together in celebration of an athlete’s tenure coming to a close.

Butler, however, has had to process the death of both of his parents since he began attending Michigan State, which is why he chose his furry family members to accompany him on Senior Day instead.

Butler’s father, Steven Butler, died in 2017 on the morning the Spartans played Penn State.

His mother, Ladrida Bagley, died in April 2019 after being diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer, the Lansing State Journal reported.

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Butler adopted his girls, Roxy and Remi, both boxer red-nosed pitbull mixes, to help him cope with the death of his parents.

“Since the passing of my mother and father … having the ability to walk with Roxy and Remi was very important to me,” Butler told CBS News. “They mean the world to me and they have always been there for me through my ups and downs.”

On Instagram, the cornerback posted a video and several photos of Senior Day, writing that the death of his parents has strengthened his character.

He also announced that he plans to graduate with his master’s degree in media and information this December.

“Definitely been a blessed journey since taking the greyhound bus as a kid all the way up to Michigan State, being able to prevail through losing my father in 2017, and seeing my mother pass away in my arms just this year in April from Cancer; it has strengthened me as a person, man of God, and leader,” Butler wrote.

In an interview with the Lansing State Journal, Butler spoke about his grief, and how he has found comfort and support from teammates that are carrying similar stories of sorrow on their backs.

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“It’s OK to cry sometimes,” Butler said on losing his parents. “At the end of the day, you just have to remember the impact they have had on my life, what they have taught me and how I will keep that as long as I live.

“Just knowing they are in a better place now and you still have to live your life as well.”

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