What Megyn Thinks the Left Got Wrong About Harrison Butker’s Controversial Commencement Address

AP Photo/Charlie Riedel

It’s safe to say Super Bowl winner Harrison Butker struck a nerve with the commencement address he delivered at a small Catholic college earlier this month.

The Kansas City Chiefs kicker has made headlines for his controversial remarks about women, motherhood, and masculinity to Benedictine College graduates, but Megyn thinks the critics are missing the point.

On Wednesday’s show, she was joined by Allie Beth Stuckey, host of BlazeTV’s Relatable, and Britt Mayer, founder of Rooted Wings, to discuss Butker’s speech and how it has been taken out of context.

The Controversy

Benedictine College is a small liberal arts school in Atchison, Kansas, sponsored by the monks of St. Benedict’s Abbey and the sisters of Mount St. Scholastica Monastery. Butker, a devout Catholic, was tapped to deliver the commencement address to the 485 graduates.

While the ceremony was held on May 11, portions of Butker’s remarks started circulating more widely last week and immediately elicited a range of reactions. “Taken out of context, in a vacuum, I will grant he sounds like he is not so pro-working wife and mother,” Megyn admitted. “But I think you have to understand in listening to him that it’s a countercultural response… Newsflash: Catholics have certain beliefs.”

Butker’s Message to Women

One of the more quoted parts of Butker’s address was the point at which he turned his attention to the female graduates because, in his words, they have had “the most diabolical lies” told to them about marriage and motherhood:

“…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.

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…”

Contrary to the way Butker is being portrayed by the left, Megyn believes he was “trying to rehabilitate a possibility for women that gets dumped on, universally, in the mainstream media.”

While Megyn noted she is a working mother herself, she said she “hates” how stay-at-home moms are perceived. “It’s good to see somebody who is famous and successful like that saying, ‘No, right on,'” she said. “He’s saying, ‘It’s an amazing choice and let me make you all feel great about it even though you just went to college and got a degree and could easily just go right into the professional lane and completely eschew motherhood and being a wife. Let me validate it as a great option, if you choose to take it.'”

Mayer agreed. “What he spoke is an assault on our modern day narrative that in order to be something in society, you have to go put on the ‘girlboss’ shorts and leave your kids at home and that is going to make you a ‘real’ woman,” she explained. “And what that lie says is if you pursue anything other than that, you are less than worthy.”

Butker’s Message to Men

At another point, Butker turned his attention to the men in the crowd to talk about the way society views them today and the attacks we are seeing on masculinity:

“…To the gentlemen here today: Part of what plagues our society is this lie that has been told to you that men are not necessary in the home or in our communities. As men, we set the tone of the culture, and when that is absent, disorder, dysfunction, and chaos set in. This absence of men in the home is what plays a large role in the violence we see all around the nation. Other countries do not have nearly the same absentee father rates as we find here in the U.S., and a correlation could be made in their drastically lower violence rates, as well.

Be unapologetic in your masculinity, fighting against the cultural emasculation of men. Do hard things. Never settle for what is easy…”

Stuckey said she was glad to hear Butker raise the point because masculinity is a “strength” that she believes is misunderstood and unappreciated. “Masculinity, like all different forms of strength, can be wielded both for good and for evil,” she said. “The same masculinity that can be used in negative aggression… [can] also build civilizations, and protect virtue, and protect the most vulnerable.”

There is a petition going around with tens of thousands of signatures encouraging the Chiefs to fire Butker for the speech he gave in his personal capacity, which Mayer believes is a sad sign of the times. “You hear people say ‘live your truth,’ but it’s a lie. They only want you to repeat the narrative that they approve of,” she concluded. “I think what he spoke, in its full context, was so beautiful and so grounded in truth… and that is why they hate it. It is such an assault on the modern lies.”

You can check out Megyn’s full interview with Mayer and Stuckey by tuning in to episode 799 on YouTube, Apple Podcasts, or wherever you like to listen. And don’t forget that you can catch The Megyn Kelly Show live on SiriusXM’s Triumph (channel 111) weekdays from 12pm to 2pm ET.