Three-Time Superbowl Winner Says Women Should be ‘Homemakers’ and Worries About ‘Dangerous Gender Ideologies’ in Commencement Speech

By: Beth Moreton | Published: May 21, 2024

Graduates at a school in Kansas were hoping that the commencement speech given by Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker would inspire them to pursue their future careers.

Instead, the speech he did deliver was one where he claimed the only thing in life women have to look forward to is being a wife and stay-at-home mom, and that their life won’t really begin until they experience this. 

Gen Z Is Refusing to Start a Family

Butker likely saw it appropriate to speak about women only being fulfilled when they’re a wife and stay-at-home mom as many of Gen Z, who are the generation who were graduating, are now refusing to start a family.

A young family on a beach. A baby is on the man’s shoulders, and a woman in a striped shirt stands beside them. They are all laughing.

Source: Lawrence Crayton/Unsplash

Instead, they are more concerned about achieving their personal goals than raising children. This includes getting their dream career, going traveling, and making an impact on society. 


Harrison Butker Said Women Should Be Homemakers

During his commencement speech at Benedictine College in Kansas, a private Catholic liberal arts school, Butker spoke about how this wouldn’t be the graduates’ biggest achievement in life. Instead, this will be when they become homemakers.

Harrison Butker at Benedictine College. He is standing behind a lectern and is wearing a graduate robe.

Source: @NahBabyNah/X

Even though he congratulated them on their academic achievements, Butker took the time to make a few other controversial comments to the young women, which has drawn much attention on social media. 

Harrison Butker Said His Wife Has the Most Important Role

Perhaps one of the most controversial statements he made in his speech was when Butker mentioned that his wife’s life only really started once she became a wife and mother. He then went on to say that she has the most important title in the world, which is a homemaker.

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker and his wife Isabelle chat with Archbishop Joseph F. Naumann at the Kansas City Kansas Pregnancy Clinic fundraiser.

Source: The Leaven

Butker’s comments may be down to his conservative Catholic beliefs and are ones he clearly felt able to share with the young group of graduates, despite not knowing what their reactions would be. 

Harrison Butker Criticized Pride Month

Alongside his controversial comments about women being homemakers, Butker also took the time in his speech to criticize Pride Month.

The pride flag. The flag is made up of colors of the rainbow.

Source: Cecilie Bomstad/Unsplash

These comments were somewhat indirectly, but it was easy to establish his meaning. Butker mentioned a “deadly sin sort of pride that has a month dedicated to it.” With Pride Month coming up in June, many have guessed that he was referring to this. 

Harrison Butker Criticized President Joe Biden

Despite them both being Catholic, Butker disagrees with many of Joe Biden’s policies introduced during his presidency and took aim at some of these during his speech.

Joe Biden being photographed for an official portrait. He is in front of the US flag.

Source: The White House/Wikimedia Commons

He mentioned the overturning of the 1973 Roe v. Wade decision, his belief that women should have the right to an abortion, and that Biden handled the COVID-19 pandemic in the wrong way. 


Harrison Butker Said Bad Policies Will Affect Graduates

As he commented on Biden and COVID-19, Butker said that while the pandemic may have seemed like a unique situation, it is not unique regarding bad policies aimed toward the American people.

Graduates sitting down. They are all wearing graduate caps and gowns.

Source: Joshua Hoehne/Unsplash

He said bad policies, such as abortion, IVF, surrogacy, and euthanasia, can have significant effects on everyone. The graduates should be mindful of this due to the effects any and all policies will have on their future lives. 


Harrison Butker Criticized Catholic Priests and Bishops

Despite being of the Catholic faith, Butker took the opportunity in his speech to criticize Catholic priests and bishops. He said they should focus less on what civil and cultural leaders think of them and more on being like St. Damien of Molokai.

A wooden Catholic cross attached to a black string with brown wooden beads.

Source: James Coleman/Unsplash

He also said no one really hears from bishops these days and that they need to be more vocal to return to the days when people would kiss the bishop’s ring. Nowadays, if a bishop puts out an important document, nobody reads or pays attention to it. 


Some Graduates Praised Harrison Butker’s Comments

Those graduating seemed to have a mix of opinions of Butker’s speech. Some of them were full of praise for it, with one saying it was clear from his speech that he loves his family.

Harrison Butker during a press conference. He is speaking into a microphone and is sitting in front of a purple background.

Source: @pghjoker/X

Another, who plans on taking a gap year to be a teacher before going to law school, said that being a stay-at-home mom is a great decision and it’s a great option and opportunity in life. She did then add she also understands many will be a mom and have a career. 


Other Graduates Criticized Harrison Butker’s Speech

Despite some of the graduates’ praise, others weren’t as convinced, to the point that they were completely unimpressed by what Butker had to say.

Harrison Butker giving a commencement speech at a college. He is wearing black and blue graduation robes and is standing behind a lectern, speaking into a microphone.

Source: @dannydeurbina/X

One graduate, who is studying medicine, criticized Butker’s comments about priests and bishops, as well as his stance on the LGBTQ+ community. This graduate believed people should be able to love who they love and not be told what they’re doing is wrong. 


Social Media’s Opinion on Harrison Butker’s Speech

Like most things in this modern day and age, with the news of Butker’s speech doing the rounds, many took to social media to express their opinion on what he had said.

A post on X about Harrison Butker’s speech. The post says, “I think being a ftm is great for some people. The point is that it’s a choice. Suggesting to a room of fresh Uni graduates that being a ftm or homemaker is the most important thing they will even do is incredibly reductive. Also… that isn’t the only thing wrong w this speech.”

Source: @antoniajallan/X

One X, (formerly Twitter), user posted that Butker’s speech was full of bigotry and misogyny, with some replying and saying that while they agree with some of the speech, they believe women should have a choice in how they live their lives. Others commented, saying it was shocking that because he had made the speech, it was likely Benedictine College approved of everything he said. 


The Effects of Harrison Butker’s Speech

One thing Butker may not have taken into account when preparing and delivering his speech was the effects it would have on those in attendance, the rest of the world, and people’s views of sports, especially the Kansas City Chiefs. 

Harrison Butker in a white football jersey, with the number ‘7’ in red. He is sitting on a white bench.

Source: Theonewhoknowsnothingatall/Wikimedia Commons

While the Chiefs have yet to comment on his speech, the NFL has made its stance clear that it is against what Butker has said. It also made it clear that his comments were made in a personal capacity and did not reflect the wider world of sports.