Harrison Butker’s Rant … A Personal Perspective from a Disappointed Ga Tech Graduate and KC Chiefs Fan

Harrison Butker speaking at the Benedictine College Graduation (photo from Benedictine College)

I am a very proud Georgia Tech alumni and supporter of Georgia Tech’s athletic program. And I also have become a Kansas City Chiefs fan since I love Patrick Mahomes, this whole Taylor Swift – Travis Kelce thing, and their outstanding record-breaking field goal kicker Ga Tech alum Harrison Butker. And then Mr. Butker makes that outrageous May 11th graduation speech (link to the complete speech text) at Benedictine College full of mistaken facts and hatred, which sent social media into a frenzy. And now I am embarrassed and ashamed as a Tech graduate.

So what was wrong with Harrison Butker’s speech, and what is a better way where he could have made the same points without condemning or ostracizing people different from himself?

What was wrong:

• He extolled the virtues of women being stay-at-home mothers supporting their husband’s careers over and above other paths that women may have in their lives, in a sense belittling other paths. Many women may not have the luxury of husbands with multi-million dollar jobs and have to work, or may choose to be a career woman as a high priority.

• He made highly charged polarizing and political statements, calling President Biden “delusional” and condemning the path that Dr. Fauci took in addressing the COVID pandemic. A graduation speech should never be a forum for political partisanship, but instead an inclusive positive charge to the graduates.

• He condemned LGBTQ people and community as “the deadly sin sort of pride that has an entire month dedicated to it.”

What is a better way he could have made his points? What should have Mr. Butker done differently?

First, he could have extolled the role of the supportive wife and mother without placing it as more important or more virtuous than other roles and paths women may be on.

As a Ga Tech graduate and supporter, I am angered and embarrassed by Harrison Butker’s speech.

Second, he should have never made any politically-charged partisan statements nor railed against any demographic that is a critical part of our American community.

As a Georgia Tech graduate and an out gay man, I am totally insulted and embarrassed by Mr. Butker’s speech. I am pleased to see the NFL distance themselves from Mr. Butker’s remarks and state their ongoing commitment to inclusion of all people.

I don’t necessarily expect Georgia Tech to make similar statements (though that would be nice), since Tech cannot control all things their graduates say. But I do not want to see Ga Tech as an institution nor the Ga Tech athletic department continue to showcase Mr. Butker as a model Ga Tech success story and graduate. If they do, I may need to seriously reconsider my financial support of Ga Tech generally and Ga Tech athletics.