Super Bowl Champion Stuns Public School Graduates with 'Hard Truths' on God and Family


Editor’s Note: Our readers responded strongly to this story when it originally ran; we’re reposting it here in case you missed it.

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker gave a rousing commencement speech at his alma mater in Atlanta in May.

The 27-year-old two-time Super Bowl champion returned to Georgia Tech to address students at the school he attended from 2013 to 2016 and asked graduates to choose a path of righteousness.

Butker spoke of God, family and virtue over earning money, WDAF-TV in Kansas City reported.

The married father of two young children peppered in a bit of humor but also offered what he called some “hard truths” to those in attendance.

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“I am someone not much older than all of you, yet I’ve been asked to speak, not because I am a great orator or because I have a number of impressive accolades,” he said.

Butker then joked, “Well, I guess I do have two Super Bowl rings.”

The kicker added, “I just happen to be blessed by God to be really good at kicking a funny-shaped ball between two yellow posts.”

But after he warmed up the crowd, he warned those whose journeys are just beginning to avoid the pitfalls of seeking a life without true fulfillment.

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“I’m about to pop off some hard truths,” he warned a crowd of what he called “capable” young people.

“In the end, no matter how much money you attain, none of it will matter if you are alone and devoid of purpose,” Butker said.

“All of you are here today because you are smart, capable and hard-working people,” he said. “But if we’re being honest, the world is filled with miserable smart, capable and hard-working people.”

The NFL star then cautioned the graduates not to be consumed with “worldly” achievements — as he said he had done earlier in his life.

“None of these accomplishments mean anything compared to the happiness I have found in my marriage and in starting a family,” Butker said of his success on the football field. “My confidence as a husband and father, and yes, even as a football player is rooted in my marriage with my wife.”

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A devout Catholic, Butker encouraged students entering the real world to start their own families.

“I can offer one controversial antidote that I believe will have a lasting impact for generations to come,” he added. “Get married and start a family.”

Butker concluded he might have two Super Bowl rings, but it is his wedding ring that he most cherishes.

The comments stunned some of Georgia Tech’s Reddit users, who found the pro-God, pro-family message offensive.

One commenter wrote, “It was truly jaw dropping…. like in the Commencement of the university that graduates the most female engineers in the country?? The answer is to go get married and have kids… omg sir.”

Another Reddit user said, “He was saying that material wealth is useless so we need to get a wife and have kids and believe in the innate value that humans have given by god. I don’t disagree but it was a bit off putting.”

Butker spent a week at a monastery just days after the game-winning kick in Super Bowl LVII in February.

“Some devils are only cast out by prayer and fasting,” he said of his time there, WDAF-TV reported. “We need to embrace this penance to bring order into all the chaos amongst us.”

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Johnathan Jones has worked as a reporter, an editor, and producer in radio, television and digital media.
Johnathan "Kipp" Jones has worked as an editor and producer in radio and television. He is a proud husband and father.