Was Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker’s college speech offensive to women?

Benedictine College

Fact Box

  • Harrison Butker is an American football kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs. He was drafted in 2017 and is in his eighth season with the Chiefs. 
  • On May 11, 2024, Butker spoke at Benedictine College, a private Catholic school in Kansas. He discussed the importance of women as “homemakers,” the danger of gender ideologies to youth, and President Biden’s stance on abortion. The NFL made a point to distance themselves from his opinions, claiming, “His views are not those of the NFL as an organization.”
  • Graduates of Benedictine College responded to Butker’s speech, some saying it was “uncomfortable” and “disheartening,” while others stated that the backlash was inappropriate. One student said, “[Butker] was invited to speak at our small Catholic college where getting engaged/married right after college is a regular occurrence. He knew his audience.” 
  • According to a 2019 News Gallup poll, 56% of women preferred working than homemaking. Fifty percent of women with children under 18 prefer staying home to working (45%).

Rob (No)

Harrison Butker faced unwarranted backlash for voicing commonplace Catholic, conservative beliefs held by many Americans. The meltdown over a short speech given by a devout Catholic to a Catholic audience at a Catholic university that upheld Christian views is wrong and hypocritical: there's no outrage against football players with multiple baby mamas or the ones accused of domestic abuse.

Butker’s speech communicated universally accepted Catholic beliefs. He also congratulated these women for their accomplishments, acknowledging some will have successful careers. He just encouraged them not to be afraid to embrace marriage and motherhood. By calling attention to the value and necessity of the title 'homemaker,' he elevated the women routinely devalued by society for not having a 'real career.' He called their hard work what it is—a vocation—a profession requiring intense dedication and passion. Those offended by this comment assume that 'homemaker' is the lesser role, while Butker and others view it as a critical role for the progression of society. If anything, it's misogynistic to suggest that a 'homemaker' title makes women any less of a person in society. Accusing him of misogyny by twisting misconstrued elements of his speech to suit an agenda is an outright attempt to stigmatize Christian views and slander his reputation. But despite sanctioning Butker for the speech, the NFL sold out Harrison Butker's jerseys in all women's sizes shortly after the speech, showing the overwhelming support coming from the chief demographic he's purportedly offended. 

Butker warned that 'the cultural elite' wants Christianity to be 'private, hidden away and harmless.' The media's upset over Butker simply sharing his personal and religious convictions—while not making a universal claim about what all women should do—proves this point. These views are valid and rooted in historical, family, and religious values, and didn’t deserve the negative uproar received. 

Mark (Yes)

Harrison Butker's speech made at Benedictine College are not only antiquated and offensive to women, they're borderline absurd. He essentially marginalized and minimized women's roles in life to that of domesticated servitude. He inferred that women should aspire to nothing more than wives and motherhood and did so with a disturbing sense of self-assurance. He then went on to say that women should under no circumstances use birth control, demonstrating pure audacity to tell them what to do with their bodies. It's astounding such comments would be made, even in 2024.  

Harrison, of course, couldn't resist referring to Taylor Swift, though he reduced her to being his 'teammate's girlfriend.' He couldn't even refer to her by name, further emphasizing his beliefs that women are inferior in their societal roles compared to men. He stated that women have been the recipients of 'deplorable lies' but failed to point out the purveyor of these lies. As a result of his speech, Butker has received considerable backlash from not only women but minority groups as well, as the Kansas City Chief's Kicker didn't limit his unsolicited critiques to only females but members of the LGBTQ+ community as well.  

These comments, also seen as homophobic, seemed to completely disregard women who are a part of the LGBTQ community, acting as if they don't exist at all. The athlete also made it clear that he is pro-life, and all but condemned those who don't live what he would likely consider a 'conventional lifestyle.' Ultimately, Harrison's comments about women 'leaning into' their vocations as wives and mothers result from his seemingly leaning too far to the right, who largely defended and applauded his view.

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