Boston, Mass., May 8, 2023 / 10:30 am (CNA).
Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker offered graduating college students a wake-up call on Saturday.
“I’m about to pop off some hard truths,” the two-time Super Bowl champion said as the commencement speaker at his alma mater, Georgia Institute of Technology.
Butker, who has been outspoken about his Catholic faith, told the students that their hard work might land them a very successful career, but that would not be enough to make them happy.
“But in the end, no matter how much money you attain, none of it will matter if you are alone and devoid of purpose,” he said.
Butker said that there are “too many examples” of people who have achieved “worldly success” but remained unfulfilled. He also said that “our culture is suffering.”
“I can offer one controversial antidote that I believe will have a lasting impact for generations to come: Get married and start a family,” Butker said.
— NFL (@NFL) February 13, 2023
The NFL star acknowledged that he’s been praised for his game-winning kicks, noting that Super Bowl LVII was the most-watched football game in history, but he added that “all of this happiness is temporary and the truth is, none of these accomplishments mean anything compared to the happiness I have found in my marriage and in starting a family.”
“My confidence as a husband and father, and yes even as a football player, is rooted in my marriage with my wife, as we leave our mark on future generations by the children we bring into the world,” Butker said.
“How much greater of a legacy can anyone leave than that?” he rhetorically questioned.
Butker said that his experience with the university’s Catholic center “laid the foundation for me to prioritize meaningful relationships and become the husband and father I am today.”
“While I’m still striving to be a better, more virtuous man, I’m confident that with God and with my wife by my side, I can do more than I ever could have imagined alone,” he said.
Butker told the students that as they move forward in life, they will face challenges and added that there is a “war on truth” in the world.
Many have lost respect for the dignity of the human person, he said.
“Gone are the days when a plurality of thought was accepted and encouraged. Instead freedom of thought has been replaced by a culture built on cancellations for those who disagree,” he continued.
Butker encouraged the students to “take risks at the expense of being silenced.”
“There will always be critics and those that disagree with our viewpoints; however, if we shy away from confrontation then the only voices left will be the ones with the most power,” Butker said.
“I pray that something I’ve said has resonated with you all and that no matter what happens from here on out, remember your purpose, focus on meaningful relationships, and know that with or without the spotlight, your life has value and you are meant for more,” he concluded.
His speech can be seen below at the 1:35:40 mark.
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