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Σάββατο, 20 Ιουλίου, 2024
ΑρχικήEnglish EditionCultureThe Audacity of a Kansas City Chiefs Player

The Audacity of a Kansas City Chiefs Player

By Maria-Nefeli Andredaki,

Picture me this: you have finally passed all your exams after years of all-nighters, tons of coffee and a considerable amount of anxiety attacks, waiting patiently to receive your degree—and then this guy shows up. Harrison Butker, professional American football player for the well-known Kansas City Chiefs team, found it incredibly intelligent to tell the female graduates of Benedictine College that their highest aspirations in this life should be to become home-makers and mothers.

In order to understand the absurdity of this statement, we need to make a few things clear. Harrison Butker was invited by the Catholic Benedictine College of liberal arts to give the commencement speech of the graduation ceremony on May 11th 2024 (I am writing the exact date in case anyone, including Butker, has forgotten what year this is), a speech that is supposed to highlight and celebrate the graduates’ achievements, who have worked so hard to be present on that day, along with their proud families and loved ones. Butker chose this memorable day to essentially diminish the achievements of the graduating women and mansplain to them what their dreams should look like in order for them to be truly happy.

Starting off his speech with a rant about COVID and how “bad leadership” has resulted in the rights to abortion and IVF (insert eye-roll here), Butker decided that it would be a great idea to turn to the women in the audience and say the following:

For the ladies present today, congratulations on an amazing accomplishment. You should be proud of all that you have achieved to this point in your young lives. I want to speak directly to you briefly because I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolical lies told to you. How many of you are sitting here now about to cross this stage and are thinking about all the promotions and titles you are going to get in your career? Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world, but I would venture to guess that the majority of you are most excited about your marriage and the children you will bring into this world.”

As if this wasn’t repulsive enough, he tried to support it with a personal example, saying that his wife’s life “truly started when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother”. This means that his wife had a life with her own dreams and aspirations before, but that does not count as truly living in his eyes. And yes, maybe Isabelle Butker could attest to that if she were the one speaking about her choices and not having a man seemingly decide what he views as best for her and everyone else of the same gender that was listening to him.

Image Rights: Ezra Shaw/ Credits: Getty Images

Another enraging moment of this speech was the moment he quoted Taylor Swift lyrics to support his argument on priesthood’s responsibility to serve the laypeople. His first strike in this was referring to renowned artist, billionaire and honorary doctorate-holder as simply “my teammate’s girlfriend”. Taylor Swift and Travis Kelce have chosen to make their relationship public in the last few months and it is understandable that the pair has attracted a lot of attention from the media. This, however, does not negate the sad fact that Butker could not even refrain from addressing the writer of the lyrics “familiarity breeds content” as nothing more than a man’s girlfriend. The irony of this exact same song talking about a woman who chooses to leave a relationship in order to enjoy her success and feel “bejeweled” is his second strike and it is not lost on anyone who can see the absurdity of his arguments.

Thankfully, the speech has been heavily criticized, not only by the media, but by the Benedictine nuns who have founded and sponsor the college. More specifically, the Benedictine Sisters of Mount St Scholastica, highlighting their own contribution (women!) in teaching and passing down their inclusive Catholic values to their students of both sexes, advocated for a less narrow definition of what it means to be Catholic, through their statement. Butker does not seem to regret his words but that is expected. Let’s hope that colleges are more careful with whom they invite to their graduation ceremonies from now on…

  • Read a transcript of Harrison Butker’s controversial commencement speech in full. Today. Available here
  • Benedictine Sisters of Mount St. Scholastica rebut Harrison Butker as no one else could. Yahoo News. Available here



Maria-Nefeli Andredaki
Maria-Nefeli Andredaki
Born and raised in Athens, she is currently studying at the department of English Language and Literature of the National and Kapodistrian University. Her interests include Victorian Literature, LGBTQ+ rights, teaching, and children's psychology. In her free time, she likes to read books in coffee shops and visit museums with friends.