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Kansas City Chiefs Kicker Delivers Controversial Commencement Speech

Jane Maginnis
Chiefs kicker makes very controversial speech regarding a women’s role in society

Graduation season is here and so, it seems, are controversial graduation speeches. In a faith-based 20-minute commencement address at Catholic liberal arts school Benedictine College, Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker took an aim at Pride Month and encouraged women to be homemakers. 

Butker, who has previously made his conservative Catholic beliefs well known, began by attacking what he considered “dangerous gender ideologies,” in an apparent direct reference to Pride Month. Later in his speech, he said, “things like abortion, IVF, surrogacy, euthanasia, as well as a growing support for degenerative cultural values in media all stem from the pervasiveness of disorder.” He went on to condemn President Biden for his handling of the COVID-19 pandemic and his pro-abortion stance. Later still, he addressed specifically the women in the audience, suggesting that their “most important title” should be that of homemaker. He talked about his wife, and said she “would be the first to say that her life truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.”

Additionally, the now-infamous kicker quoted Taylor Swift’s “Bejeweled” while criticizing the Catholic church for being “overly-familiar” with their parishioners, joking that “as my teammate’s  girlfriend says, ‘familiarity breeds contempt.’” Butker received abundant criticism from opposing opinions online, with many taking to social media to express their beliefs. Backlash has gone so far as a petition on circulating, calling for from Butker’s dismissal from the Chiefs for “discriminatory remarks;” the petition has over 225,000 signatures and a goal of reaching 300,000. 

The National Football League (NFL), who holds a record of not speaking out on the controversial actions of its players, has made their response short and sweet. The league said in a statement to CBS news that it doesn’t share Butker’s views. Jonathan Beane, Senior Vice President and Chief Diversity and Inclusion Officer at the NFL said, “Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity. 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.”

While the NFL might hold back on their reaction, female graduates present during the speech are not. Susannah Leisegang, a graduate of Benedictine College, was quick to post her own perspective. Leisegang took to TikTok saying, “Yeah it was f****ing horrible. Some of us did boo.” She then continued to remind her audience of the context in which the speech was given, at a Catholic and conservative college, attesting to how many male graduates were “excited” and agreed with Butker’s statements. However, Leisegang continued, “Most of the women were looking back and forth at each other like, ‘what the f**** is going on? Like, did he just come out here to speak about politics and his views on women? That’s all you got for graduation commencement speech? Are you kidding?'”

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About the Contributors
Andrea Criado Galindo
Andrea Criado Galindo, Staff Reporter
Andrea Criado, is a senior and writer for the culture and bilingual barons sections. In her free time she enjoys hanging out with friends, listening to music, reading and walking her dog.
Jane Maginnis, Staff Photographer

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