Harrison Butker's speech about women's role as "homemakers" is being widely condemned

Kansas City Chiefs NFL player Harrison Butker giving a press conference
(Image credit: Getty Images)

NFL player Harrison Butker has sparked major criticism following a commencement speech at Benedictine College, Kansas, last Saturday.

The 28-year-old Kansas City Chiefs kicker gave a 20-minute address to the college's graduating students, with his controversial comments - particularly relating to women and their role as "homemakers", going viral.

"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," Butker announced in his formal address, that has since been condemned online. "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?"

He continued: "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.

"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 the 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 a 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."

Harrison Butker playing for the Kansas City Chiefs

(Image credit: Getty Images)

Butker's speech, that went on to criticise IVF, abortion and "the tyranny of diversity, equity and inclusion", has prompted worldwide criticism. And since its online release, a petition calling for his firing over the "discriminatory remarks" has already surpassed 170,000 signatures.

The Kansas City Chiefs has not formally responded to the controversy around Butker's comments. Meanwhile, the National Football League has stated that the comments were given "in [Harrison Butker's] personal capacity" and that "his views are not those of the NFL".

We will continue to update this report.

Jenny Proudfoot
Features Editor

Jenny Proudfoot is an award-winning journalist, specialising in lifestyle, culture, entertainment, international development and politics. She has worked at Marie Claire UK for seven years, rising from intern to Features Editor and is now the most published Marie Claire writer of all time. She was made a 30 under 30 award-winner last year and named a rising star in journalism by the Professional Publishers Association.