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NFL Superstar Tells College Graduates: Family Brings More Joy than a Career

Michael Foust | Contributor | Monday, May 8, 2023
NFL Superstar Tells College Graduates: Family Brings More Joy than a Career

NFL Superstar Tells College Graduates: Family Brings More Joy than a Career

A commencement speech by one of the NFL's top placekickers has gone viral on social media after he told graduates that marriage and family would bring them more joy than their careers.

Harrison Butker, a two-time Super Bowl champion with the Kansas City Chiefs, delivered the commencement address Saturday at his alma mater, Georgia Tech, and acknowledged that his advice was a little controversial in today's society.

Butker kicked the game-winning field goal twice during the 2022-23 NFL playoffs – first in the AFC Championship game and then in the Super Bowl.

A focus on marriage and family, he said, can help fix society's problems.

"Our culture is suffering – we all see it. It doesn't matter which political persuasion you sit on, or whether you are a person of deep faith or not, anyone with eyes can see that something is off," Butker said. "Studies have shown one of the many negative effects of the pandemic is that a lot of young adults feel a sense of loneliness, anxiety and depression. Despite technology that has connected us more than ever before. It would seem the more connected people are to one another, the more they feel alone."

"I'm not sure the root of this, but at least 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.

Despite having two Super Bowl rings, Butker said his wedding ring is the "most important ring I have."

"They just announced that this Super Bowl was the most-watched football game of all time. And yet all of this happiness is temporary," he said. "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. How much greater of a legacy can anyone leave than that?"

Sadly, he noted, society encourages people to "live our lives for ourselves, to move from one thing to another with no long-term commitment, to have loyalty for nothing but ourselves and sacrifice [to] only when it suits our own interests."

"This loneliness is rooted in the lies being sold about self-dependence and prioritizing our career over important relationships," he said.

People, he continued, have "innate value bestowed upon them by the Creator."

"While I'm still striving to be a better, more virtuous man," he said, "I'm confident that with God and with my wife on my side, I can do more than I ever could have imagined alone."

Photo courtesy: ©Getty Images/Carmen Mandato/Staff

Michael Foust has covered the intersection of faith and news for 20 years. His stories have appeared in Baptist Press, Christianity Today, The Christian Post, the Leaf-Chroniclethe Toronto Star and the Knoxville News-Sentinel.

NFL Superstar Tells College Graduates: Family Brings More Joy than a Career