National Football League
Why Chiefs' Harrison Butker missed the mark in commencement speech
National Football League

Why Chiefs' Harrison Butker missed the mark in commencement speech

Updated May. 17, 2024 3:14 p.m. ET

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker recently drew negative attention to himself for a commencement speech he gave at Benedictine College in which he discussed traditional gender roles — masculinity and motherhood — and Pride Month, among other things.

"For the ladies present today … you should be proud of all that you have achieved to this point in your young lives," Butker said, in part. "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."

LZ Granderson reacts to Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker's commencement speech

Butker, who has been Kansas City's kicker since 2017 and was present for its three Super Bowl victories in the past five years, followed up those comments by speaking directly to the men in attendance, telling them to "be unapologetic in your masculinity" while "fighting against the cultural emasculation of men."


The NFL promptly released a statement, saying that Butker's views "are not those of the NFL as an organization."

Award-winning journalist LZ Granderson of the Los Angeles Times has some thoughts on Butker's comments, believing that the kicker failed to deliver on what the purpose of a commencement speech should be. Granderson shared his thoughts with Keyshawn Johnson on the latest edition of "All Facts No Brakes."

"I've been a commencement speaker," Granderson said. "You're supposed to pull on your life experience to inspire. He pulled on his life experience to criticize, to chastise. … He took that moment and he just s--- all over all those young women who worked so hard to get to that degree with his view of what he thinks they should do with the rest of their lives, as opposed to inspiring them to pursue what they think they should do with the rest of their lives."

Johnson agreed with Granderson's sentiment, adding: "I was offended [by Butker's comments] because you know how I am about that stuff. I don't play that s--- at all, when you start doing things, saying things about communities or peoples that you shouldn't, if you don't know what you're talking about."

Elsewhere in the wide-ranging interview, Granderson discussed the potential NBA future of Bronny James, the son of Los Angeles Lakers superstar LeBron James, specifically whether the Lakers or another team would draft the USC guard and eventually pair him with his father.

"My first thing with him (Bronny) is always about his health," Granderson, who went on to explain why LeBron James has a case for being considered the greatest of all time, said. "That's my hesitation, first and foremost … and then there is the pressure part of it. Then there's the third part of it, which is [that] he's not that good right now.

"So what you're doing is investing for the future. How much are you willing to invest to build him because you think he's worth it as an individual, versus how much you're going to invest in him because you're still trying to do business with everything else?"

Bronny James suffered cardiac arrest last summer and missed the first month of USC's 2023 season. He went on to appear in 25 games for the Trojans, averaging 4.8 points in just 19.3 minutes per contest.

Granderson also provided his perspective on the matter surrounding 11-year NBA veteran Austin Rivers' recent argument that 30 NBA players could play in the NFL, which has sparked a massive debate over which sport is more difficult to play.

"I think that the entire NFL is made up of guys with the mental ability to play basketball, but I don't think the NBA has a lot of guys with the mental capacity [to play in the NFL]," he said. "If you can do both, why not choose the profession where they see your face, where you make more money and there's less long-term injury?

"I don't think that there's enough guys in the NBA who are willing to go back to work after they take that first hit that they didn't see coming … and you realize once you come through [that] you got to go back there and do it again."

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Harrison Butker
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