Kansas City Chiefs' Harrison Butker on the field at State Farm Stadium
(Cooper Neill, Getty Images)

NFL Remains Silent Following Misogynistic Commencement Speech From the Chiefs’ Harrison Butker

The NFL and Kansas City Chiefs have remained silent after Harrison Butker's wildly misogynistic and bigoted commencement speech.

Female students at Benedictine College should have heard an inspiring speech at their commencement ceremony. Instead, they were lectured, belittled, and told to stay in their lanes during Harrison Butker’s misogynistic speech, while the NFL has remained oddly silent.

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Butker, a kicker for the NFL’s Kansas City Chiefs, went viral for the hate-filled commencement speech. However, it’s far from the first time the far-right football player has stirred controversy. He is a vocal anti-vaxxer, having proudly revealed that he was prepared to quit the NFL and bail on his team if the football league instituted a COVID-19 vaccine mandate. Back in 2022, Butker also used his platform to campaign for Kansas’ Value Them Both amendment, urging citizens to “vote yes” to strip Kansans of their right to have an abortion. To reiterate his views, Butker wore an anti-abortion tie to the Chiefs Super Bowl celebration at the White House.

Last year, while giving the commencement speech at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, Butker made comments about how wrong it is for women to live their lives “for themselves.” Since he largely avoided backlash for the previous incidents, Butker has been getting even bolder with his hatred. Earlier this year, he expressed outrage at St. Patrick’s Cathedral in New York City for holding a funeral service for transgender activist Cecilia Gentili. In interviews, Butker revealed that he even wrote Cardinal Timothy Dolan a letter demanding that he publicly denounce the funeral service. For some reason, Butker was still invited to Benedictine College to give another commencement speech.

Harrison Butker delivers horrific commencement speech

When Butker was invited to give the 2024 commencement speech at Benedictine College, he decided to use it as an opportunity to spread his hateful views, especially as they pertain to working women. The 20-minute speech went viral as social media users could hardly believe what they were hearing. For most of the speech, Butker takes aim at the Catholic Church, demanding that its bishops and priests stand up for Catholic values. He also calls the bishops and priests who adhered to COVID-19 protocol “cowards,” stating they should’ve explicitly defied state mandates.

Butker goes on to claim that people like him must always speak their minds to overcome the “tyranny of diversity, equity, and inclusion.” At one point, he mentions pride and can’t resist throwing in his anti-LGBTQ stance, clarifying, “Not the deadly sins sort of Pride that has an entire month dedicated to it, but the true God-centered pride that is cooperating with the holy ghost to glorify him.”

The part of Butker’s speech that has garnered the most attention is when he directly addresses all the women in the room. Many of these women graduated high school in 2020 and missed out on having a commencement ceremony due to COVID-19 protocols. One might hope they could have one special commencement in their lives in which they were truly recognized and celebrated for their achievements. Instead, Butker said they are victims of “the most diabolical lie” for graduating college and having career goals. He criticized the women who were “thinking about all the promotions and titles they were going to get” because, although “some” of them might go on to have careers, he believed what they were actually most excited about was “marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”

Butker went on to use his wife, Isabelle, as an example of a woman whose life truly didn’t start until “she began living her vocation as a wife and a mother.” He strongly implied that this is true for all women. Multiple times throughout his speech, Butker emphasized that women must “stay in their lane” and adhere to their only vocation, which is to be “homemakers.” He went on to state that women must not have any control over when or if they give birth because it is God’s choice, and “there is nothing natural about Catholic birth control.” He also shamed the women in the audience who would go on to live with their boyfriends before marriage, stating that the university would question where they went wrong with them.

Butker concluded by instructing men not to believe the supposed lies they’ve been told, that “men are not necessary,” because it is solely up to men “to set the tone of the culture.” Butker demanded they be “unapologetic in their masculinity” and fight the supposed “emasculation” of men.

The NFL and Kansas City Chiefs are silent after Butker’s speech

It didn’t take long for the speech to garner national attention. Not only was it filled with hateful and extremist views, but it’s also difficult to begin to comprehend how someone could possibly be so cruel as to shame women on what should’ve been a celebratory moment in their lives. Butker trivialized every single woman’s accomplishments, telling the women in the audience that they will only find worth in becoming homemakers. On top of that, he attacked every woman in that audience who uses birth control or lives with their partner before marriage. Even on the day of their college commencement, a man felt compelled to invalidate their bodily autonomy and freedom to choose their own path in life.

What’s even more shocking is that both the NFL and the Kansas City Chiefs have remained dead silent on the issue. Unfortunately, Butker isn’t some random nobody spewing ridiculous views. He is an NFL football player on the team that won the Super Bowl last year. The NFL and Kansas City Chiefs have given him a platform and the funds to create videos for his anti-abortion campaign. They are the reason that Butker was invited to give two commencement speeches, and why he is now gloating about being an “amateur professional speaker.”

If the NFL and Kansas City Chiefs are going to fund and support the platforms of their players, then they absolutely need to do something when those players abuse their platforms. NFL players like Butker and Aaron Rodgers are recognizing that they can essentially say whatever they wish without so much as a peep from the NFL, which is why they have only gotten bolder while their statements have grown even more hateful and extreme. Given contracts, it’s unclear how much disciplinary action the NFL can take, but nothing is stopping the organization from issuing a statement condemning Butker’s views and, at the very least, confirming that his opinions do not represent the league or his team.


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Rachel Ulatowski
Rachel Ulatowski is a Staff Writer for The Mary Sue, who frequently covers DC, Marvel, Star Wars, literature, and celebrity news. She has over three years of experience in the digital media and entertainment industry, and her works can also be found on Screen Rant, JustWatch, and Tell-Tale TV. She enjoys running, reading, snarking on YouTube personalities, and working on her future novel when she's not writing professionally. You can find more of her writing on Twitter at @RachelUlatowski.