Why Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker’s commencement speech went viral

Benedictine College wisely turned off the comments for its YouTube video of Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker delivering the school’s commencement speech on Sunday to the graduating class of 2024.

Butker is a devout Catholic and Benedictine is a Catholic liberal arts college in Atchison, Kansas. So Butker spoke mostly about his religious beliefs and didn’t say much about the Chiefs, although he did work in a Taylor Swift reference.

“Tragically, so many priests revolve much of their happiness from the adulation they receive from their parishioners,” Butker said. “And in searching for this, they let their guard down and become overly familiar. This undo familiarity will prove to be problematic every time because as my teammate’s girlfriend says, ‘familiarity breeds contempt.’”

This year’s graduates were at Benedictine during the COVID-19 pandemic, and Butker used that as a springboard for delivering a message about the things he sees as wrong in the United States. That included President Joe Biden, Pride month and some Catholic leaders.

“As a group you witnessed firsthand how bad leaders who don’t stay in their lane can have a negative impact on society,” Butker said. “It is through this lens that I want to take stock of how we got to where we are and where we want to go as citizens and yes, as Catholics.”

Butker, who last year encouraged graduates at Georgia Tech to get married, praised his wife, Isabelle. He broke down a bit while speaking about her to the women graduates in Sunday’s crowd.

“Some of you may go on to lead successful careers in the world,” Butker said. “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.

“I can tell you that my beautiful wife, Isabelle, would be the first to say that her life truly started when she began living her vocation, as a wife, and as a mother. I’m on this stage today and able to be the man I am, because I have a wife who leans into her vocation.

“I’m beyond blessed with the many talents God has given me, but it cannot be overstated, that all of my success is made possible because the girl I met in band class back in middle school would convert to the faith, become my wife and embrace one of the most important titles of all homemaker.”

Butker also spoke about abortion, and all of these are hot-button topics that led to comments in support of the Chiefs kicker — and certainly against him, too.

Kansas City Mayor Quinton Lucas didn’t mention Butker by name but he did say that people have a right to their own opinion.

“Grown folks have opinions, even if they play sports. I disagree with many, but I recognize our right to different views,” Lucas wrote on X. “Nobody should have to stick to anything. Varied and shall I say—diverse—viewpoints help the world go round.”