What Was Harrison Butker Thinking?

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker speaks on Feb. 5 to the media during Super Bowl Week in Las Vegas.
Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker speaks on Feb. 5 to the media during Super Bowl Week in Las Vegas. Charlie Riedel/Associated Press

The evolution of man — you know, the chart that shows an apelike character evolving over time into an opposable-thumb-having, upright-walking man — is supposed to be 6 million years of progress.

But even after 6 million years of coaching, encouraging and coddling them, trying to undo some of the ancient philosophies that propagated the caveman era, there are still men like Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker, who hasn’t progressed past homo habilis.

In case you have blocked all the “Make America great again” propaganda from your social media, you might’ve missed that last weekend Butker spoke at the commencement at Benedictine College, a Catholic private liberal arts school in Atchison, Kansas. Butker didn’t just offend the left — he offended everyone who is not a white cisgender male.

He completed the full house of offenses by railing against women in the workforce, the LGBTQ community, abortions, IVF and President Joe Biden’s handling of the COVID-19 pandemic, to name a few.

Butker didn’t just go after women, he told women who were graduating from college that wanting to have a life beyond serving their husband is evil.

“I think it is you, the women, who have had the most diabolic lies told to you,” Butker said during his dumb-ass speech. “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 a mother,” Butker added. “I’m on this stage and able to be the man I am because I have a wife who leans into her vocation as a wife and a mother.”

Mothering and homemaking is serious work. But it shouldn’t be thrust upon a woman as if that is her life’s purpose — it should be her decision.

I’m assuming that Butker’s antiquated thinking is informed by his upbringing; with a mom who stayed home and tended to the family, and as such he understands the importance of…

Editor: Stephen, his mother was a physicist.

Me: What?

Editor: Yes, Butker’s mom holds two degrees — chemistry and medical physics.

WTF is wrong with this guy? No, seriously, WTF is wrong with him? I can’t say that he’s been knocked around too many times, as he’s a kicker (which is Latin for definitely not getting knocked around).

But how can a man raised in a house with a mom who works as a medical physicist hold beliefs that are so archaic?

When you’ve not evolved as a man, you do things like binge-watch episodes of “Naked and Afraid,” kill unsuspecting animals in your spare time — and give commencement speeches that discourage the female graduating class from aspiring for more, because men need to be propped up. Butker could’ve ended his speech by smashing a beer can on his forehead and that would’ve probably been the eighth most obnoxious thing he did that day.

But before we keep going, I have so many questions. So. Many Questions.

First, who the hell wants to hear from an NFL kicker? Even the most exciting kicker is still the 100th-most exciting football player on any game day. An NFL kicker can play a full NFL game and wear his game uniform to a nightclub that evening without even taking a shower because everything on him is still fresh.

I get that kickers are strategic players who are specialty artists at their craft, but has anyone in the history of ever been like, “I really wonder what Mark Moseley thinks about this”?

Oh, you don’t know who the hell Mark Moseley is? That’s funny, because he’s arguably one of the most famous kickers to have ever played the game. In fact, to this day, he’s the only NFL kicker to have ever won the NFL MVP award, a feat that most likely will never happen again. And yet no one knows who the hell he is, which is proof that kickers are inconsequential in the American zeitgeist, even when they are amazing.

Secondly, where are all of his teammates? Do they support Butker’s All-American pickup-truck brand of thinking? Since word broke that Butker is a throwback from the 1950s, not one player has come out to show their love for him.

The Chiefs’ quarterback doesn’t even talk to him.

“Honestly, I don’t talk to Harrison all year long, man. I just let him do his thing,” Patrick Mahomes said during an appearance on “The Pat McAfee Show” earlier this year.

By “do his thing,” I’m sure Mahomes means he just lets him keep being his misogynistic, homophobic, pro-white-male self.

In his speech, Butker also encouraged men to lean into their masculinity — which, as a man, let me tell you what manly men never have to say to other men: “Hey, why don’t you lean into your masculinity?”

Butker’s entire dreadful speech could be summed up in a few words: He’s a white man who is afraid of losing. What he’s actually afraid of losing, no one knows. But someone, some mythical someone, is always working to take something away from white men.

This fear is what pushed the Supreme Court to gut affirmative action and kneecap women’s rights. It’s this fear that’s behind the inhumane treatment of undocumented citizens. It was the basis of Donald Trump’s presidency. For centuries, white men have been afraid of losing something, and so they’ve always fought against this fear. This fear is what prevents commonsense gun laws and reparations.

Butker’s speech wasn’t about uplifting the graduates or the endless possibilities that await them, which is what most commencement speeches are about. It was mansplaining couched in biblical text, the way that most MAGA Christians use the Bible: by taking the pieces that substantiate racism, sexism and transphobia at face value and ignoring the bits about being a kind, decent person.

It was Butker’s chance to rain down on the hopefuls before the rest of the world does. It was a sadistic opportunity to dash the hopes of women who have often had to deal with limitations put on their dreams. It was cruel and uncalled for.

And though the Chiefs have declined to comment on Butker’s address, know that over the last 10 years, the Hunt family, which owns the Chiefs, have donated close to $1 million to conservative candidates and committees. They’ve supported the candidacies of some of the most vile politicians, including Sens. Josh Hawley (R-Mo.), Ted Cruz (R-Texas), Marco Rubio (R-Fla.) and Ron Johnson (R-Wis.).

And there will be no repercussions for his actions. The NFL only punishes nonviolent protests like kneeling on the sideline during the national anthem as a show of solidarity for equal rights for people of color — as the league is done even pretending that it cares about anything else.

Butker merely proves that there is an audience for hate speech of his kind, and, as such, he will always be employed, never be forced to evolve and will be pristine even on Sundays. It takes a special kind of person to be a kicker — which is another way of saying, when it comes to masculinity, Butker only looks the part.