Kansas City Chiefs kicker Butker Sparks Controversy at Commencement Speech

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In the small town of Atchison, Kansas, merely an hour’s drive from the heart of Kansas City, Harrison Butker, renowned kicker for the Kansas City Chiefs, unsettled a commencement audience at Benedictine College. Amidst the gothic architecture of this private catholic liberal arts institution, Butker rebuffed an array of hot-button topics, all within a surprisingly brief window of just twenty minutes.

Butker, a three-time Super Bowl hero, is no stranger to the national spotlight, but his fame predominantly lies within the grit and grind of the football field. Off the turf, however, Butker has keenly voiced his conservative Catholic views, further emphasizing his preset stage for this commencement discourse.

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In his opening salvo, he sharply criticized what he referred to as “dangerous gender ideologies”. This appeared to be a bearish swipe at Pride month, a celebration of LGBTQ+ rights, typically marked in June in honor of the historical 1969 Stonewall riots. His criticisms did not spare The Associated Press either, as he openly castigated an article highlighting an apparent conservative shift within certain pockets of the Catholic Church.

The 28-year-old Chiefs kicker steadily aimed his verbal arrows at President Biden, sharply critiquing his leadership throughout the devastating COVID-19 pandemic which, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, has tragically claimed nearly 1.2 million lives across the U.S.

As Butker broached the sports podium, he expanded his reproach to broader societal concerns. Like a veteran field-goal kicker lining up his shot, Butker argued against perceived policy pitfalls that, in his words, engender cultural degradation and fuel controversies such as abortion, in-vitro fertilization, surrogacy, and euthanasia.

Pivoting to his female audience members in his address, Butker argued that “homemaker” should pertain as their utmost priority. He painted a picture of how society had steered women astray with deceptions, asserting that the blossoms of life – marriage, homemaking, and motherhood – were life’s true fields of victory.

Echoing his stern discourse was an uninviting silence from the Chiefs, as they declined to comment on their star player’s controversial address.

Butker has proven his mettle on the gridiron since his 2017 draft into the NFL from Georgia Tech. Arguably one of football’s best kickers, he etched his name into the Chiefs’ history books with a 62-yard record-breaking field goal in 2022. Moreover, not only was he instrumental in the Chiefs clinching their first Super Bowl in half a century in 2020, but he also played a significant part in their subsequent Lombardi Trophy in 2023, including the match-altering field goal that instigated overtime in a largely watched Super Bowl game against San Francisco.

However, off-field controversies have landslide their way into the Chiefs’ off-season, stirring an unpalatable distress within the franchise. Last month, Jackson County, Missouri’s ballot initiative to fund a ballpark and $800 million renovations for Arrowhead Stadium, drew scornful rejection from a majority of voters.

Meanwhile, in a separate incident, Chiefs’ wide-receiver Rashee Rice surrendered to Dallas police following charges of aggravated assault and involvement in a reckless high-speed accident leaving four injured. Grainy videos caught Rice hastily leaving the scene, bypassing any attempts to provide assistance or information. In addition to this, Rice was reported to have allegedly assaulted a person in a nightclub, further tarnishing the Chiefs’ reputation.

While Head Coach Andy Reid acknowledged these growing concerns, he stressed his communication with the player and emphasized the importance of permitting the legal process to ensue.