Harrison Butker Urged Graduates to 'Get Married and Start a Family' During Georgia Tech Speech Last Year

Butker's 2023 commencement speech at Georgia Institute of Technology has resurfaced in the wake of his controversial remarks at Benedictine College

<p>Georgia Tech/Youtube</p> Harrison Butker in 2023 during his Georgia Institute of Technology commencement address

Georgia Tech/Youtube

Harrison Butker in 2023 during his Georgia Institute of Technology commencement address

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker caused controversy this week with comments made about women, abortion, in vitro fertilization (IVF) and the LGBTQ+ community while speaking to graduates at Benedictine College’s commencement on May 11. Now, it's been revealed that it's not the first time he's used his platform to push his views on some of these topics.

Butker's 2023 Georgia Institute of Technology’s graduation speech has resurfaced in light of his Benedictine commencement address, in which he asserted that a woman's role is as a "homemaker."

In the speech to last year's graduating class at Georgia Tech, Butker's alma mater, the athlete said that he believes that "there's a feeling of hopelessness for the future, and we continue to become entrenched in our respective groups."

He attacked what he dubbed “identity politics” and said that it "caused us to look at one another through a prism of hate and lack of respect for the human person. It seems the days of seeing the value of others may be gone, understanding that all people have innate value bestowed upon them by the Creator."

<p>Cooper Neill/Getty</p> Harrison Butker

Cooper Neill/Getty

Harrison Butker

Related: NFL Says They Do Not Agree with Harrison Butker's 'Views' in Graduation Speech, Are Committed to 'Inclusion'

Butker also said that he believes that it’s important to “take risks at the expense of being silenced. There will always be critics and those that disagree with our viewpoints. However, if we shy away from confrontation, then the only voices left will be the ones with the most power.”

Related: Chiefs' Harrison Butker Criticized for Graduation Speech Attacking Working Women While Quoting Taylor Swift

Butker said during the 2023 speech that he had a "controversial antidote" to young adults' feelings of "loneliness, anxiety and depression": "Get married and start a family.”

He highlighted his on-the-field wins with the Chiefs, before saying that "the truth is none of these accomplishments mean anything compared to the happiness I have found in my marriage and in starting a family."

"My confidence as a husband and a father and yes, even as a football player, is rooted in my marriage with my wife as we leave our mark on future generations by the children we bring to the world. How much greater of a legacy can anyone leave than that?" Butker told the 2023 graduates, referencing his wife Isabelle Butker, who he married in 2018.

Butker also claimed during the 2023 speech that "we are encouraged to live our lives for ourselves to move from one thing to another with no long-term commitment. To have loyalty for nothing but ourselves and sacrifice only when it suits our own interests." Added the kicker, "This loneliness is rooted in the lies being sold about self dependence and prioritizing our career over important relationships.”

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In his 2024 address at Benedictine, Butker said that women have "had the most diabolical lies told to you." He also told male graduates to “be unapologetic in your masculinity" and to "fight against the cultural emasculation of men."

The NFL has since spoken out and said that the organization does not agree with Butker’s views. In a statement to PEOPLE, Jonathan Beane, the NFL’s senior vice president and chief diversity and inclusion officer said “[Butker's] views are not those of the NFL as an organization. The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.” 

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