Kansas City Chiefs’ Harrison Butker’s Benedictine College Graduation Speech Met With Online Criticism

Kansas City Chiefs player Harrison Butker is facing backlash after delivering a controversial graduation speech to the class of 2024 at Benedictine College.

The 20-minute speech was delivered on May 11 at the Catholic college’s campus in Atchison, Kansas. The NFL kicker spoke on a range of topics, including reproductive issues, women’s roles in the home, Pride month and more.

Kansas City Chiefs player Harrison Butker spoke to 2024 graduates of Benedictine College.Benedictine College / YouTube

“The bad policies and poor leadership have negatively impacted major life issues. Things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for degenerate cultural values and media all stem from the pervasiveness of disorder,” the 28-year-old said.

A common theme in the address was the importance of “accepting your lane,” and Butker went on to address the women in the graduating class, saying that they had been told “the most diabolical lies.”

He shared that his wife’s life “really started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.” Butker married his wife, Isabelle, in 2018 and the couple share two children.

“I’ve seen firsthand how much happier someone can be when they disregard the outside noise and move closer and closer to God’s will for life. Isabelle’s dream of having a career might not have come true, but if you ask her today if she has any regrets on her decision, she would laugh out loud without hesitation and say no.”

While speaking about the importance of embracing tradition, Butker referenced Pride month, a month, typically June, dedicated to the LGBTQ community, as a “deadly sin sort of pride.”

Butker encouraged men to be “unapologetic in your masculinity” after addressing reproductive issues during his speech.

“Let’s be honest, there is nothing good about playing God with having children, whether that be your ideal number or the perfect time to conceive,” he said. “No matter how you spin it, there is nothing natural about Catholic birth control.”

The footballer also quoted a line from pop star Taylor Swift’s song “Bejeweled.” Swift is dating Butker’s teammate Travis Kelce.

“Tragically, so many priests revolve much of their happiness from the adulation they receive from their parishioners,” he said. “And in searching for this, they let their guard down and become overly familiar. This undue familiarity will prove to be problematic every time because as my teammate’s girlfriend says, familiarity breeds contempt.”

In a statement to TODAY.com, the NFL’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer, Jonathan Beane, said Butker’s comments didn’t reflect the larger organization.

“Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity,” Beane said. “His views are not those of the NFL as an organization. The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

TODAY.com has reached out to Benedictine College for comment on the address, as well as Butker and the Chiefs, but has not received any response. TODAY.com has also reached out to Swift for a response on being quoted in the speech.

Online reactions to the speech by Harrison Butker were a trending topic on X by May 14.

“I dare Harrison Butker to tell Taylor Swift that she has no value until she is a wife and mother,” one tweet read.

“You see, this is why we need Pride Month, this is why I continue to say LGBTQ people BELONG,” wrote another.

“This is atrocious,” wrote a third commenter. “As talented as he is, you can find a kicker that’s not (homophobic) and misogynistic pretty easily, I bet.”

Butker was drafted in 2017 by the Carolina Panthers but was signed by the Chiefs in September of the same year. He has since won three Super Bowls with the Chiefs and received accolades after scoring a 27-yard field goal that won the 2023 Super Bowl against the Philadelphia Eagles.

CORRECTION (May 15, 2024, 7:21 a.m. ET): An earlier version of this article misstated that Harrison Butker quoted lyrics from Taylor Swift’s song “Karma” in his speech. He quoted lyrics from her song “Bejeweled.”


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