Shut up and kick: A message to the smallest man who ever lived

Kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, Harrison Butker during his 20 minute commencement address May 11. Quarterback for the team, Patrick Mahomes, once said in an interview that he never talks to Butker.
Kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, Harrison Butker during his 20 minute commencement address May 11. Quarterback for the team, Patrick Mahomes, once said in an interview that he never talks to Butker.

As many of you know by now, Harrison Butker, placekicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, was the commencement speaker for the class of 2024 at Benedictine College, a Catholic university in Kansas. He said a lot, and honestly, I wish he hadn’t. 

Where does one even begin with a misogynistic, homophobic rant disguised as a college commencement speech that’s supposed to inspire and help transition students to their next phase in life?

Butker said he was speaking from his God-given platform, but that wasn’t given to him by God, more than likely it was from the women in his life who either paved the way or gave up their own dreams so that he could have his. Butker’s wife did just that.

In his speech, Butker said that his wife gave up her dream of having a career to stay home and care for their child. What about his mother? From just hearing his speech you’d assume that she must have been a homemaker as well. Wrong. Elizabeth Keller Butker has a bachelor’s degree in chemistry with a master’s in medical physics from Georgia Tech. Currently, she works as a physicist in the radiology oncology department at Emory University in Atlanta, literally saving lives. 

In his little speech, he geared towards the women congratulating them for all of their hard work throughout their years at school, and he should have stopped there. Instead, he spat in their faces by telling them they were better off as homemakers. Choosing to stay home for your family isn’t bad, but why is that only on the women? His mother having a successful career proves that women can absolutely do both if they so choose. He said the students have the potential to leave a legacy but then rebuked that by leading the women in attendance back to the kitchen. Making the huge assumption that even though they achieved something incredible, nothing really beats the title of wife and mother. Because as we ladies have been told, life doesn’t really start unless you’re in the service of others in the home.

He opened up his speech by touching on the fact that students missed out on many milestones because of the pandemic, but what I bet they wished they could have missed out on was his speech. 

Butker’s speech was around 20 minutes long — 20 minutes I can’t get back and neither can those students. He mentioned “bad leaders who don’t stay in their lane” yet here you are not staying in yours, sir. Butker said he had originally declined to speak at the graduation, and I’m sure that when all is said and done, the swift backlash that he and his team are feeling will be more than enough for him to wish he had.

Butker said his words weren’t from a place of wisdom, and in this I agreed. He stated that this generation must stop pretending that what we are seeing is normal. You are right there Harrison, this rhetoric you are trying to spread is anything but normal, it’s dangerous. 

The active banishment of women’s rights and free will is not normal. The dangerous amount of policies being put in place to control our bodies is not normal. The abuses and transgressions along with policies being placed against the LGBTQ+ community is not normal. The genocide we are witnessing happening in Gaza is not normal. Preaching to a college class on how the only vocation a woman should come to know, is in the home, and that being who you are is a mortal sin is not normal. Weaponizing faith to spread hate isn’t normal. 

Butker, who I am assuming one day will be running for politics in a certain red camp, tried to speak to the “bad policies and poor leadership” we are seeing today that have affected major life issues. How politicians are pushing gender ideologies to the youth of America and “celebrating the deadly sin sort of pride that lasts for a month”, but as a member of that community I can tell you the pride lasts a hell of a lot longer than that. 

While just being “unapologetically and authentically” himself, something that aligns pretty well with the community he aimed to offend, he brought up a bill that Congress just passed stating “If you talk about who killed Jesus, it can land you in jail.” Well, now because of a certain politician, can we not say the same for the “Don’t Say Gay” bill in Florida?

Butker spoke with such discernment when he said that men set the tone for the culture and that men need to be unapologetically masculine. As a woman who just recently lost a friend to femicide, I know “All Too Well” that masculinity has the potential to not only lead to gender-based violence but the continuous effort to undermine the rights of women. The attempt to take that kind of message to the masses is beyond understanding and deplorable.  

Harrison, you may want to stop with the talks and stick with the kicks. I would hate for you to understand the true meaning of Taylor Swift’s lyrics you used, because as we both know familiarity breeds contempt.

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About the Contributor
Leilany Sosa
Leilany Sosa, Reporter
Leilany Sosa (She/Her) is a digital journalism/digital filmmaking major in her third semester at SRJC. She enjoys staying up to date with the news, loves stories showcasing humanity at its best and has a deep interest in documentary filmmaking.

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