Mom of Chiefs player under fire for telling women to be homemakers is a renowned physicist

Harrison Butker, the Kansas City Chiefs kicker who recently came under fire for remarks he made at a commencement speech suggesting that female graduates were most looking forward to becoming wives and mothers, was raised by a renowned medical physicist.

Elizabeth Keller Butker, the football player’s mother, has worked in Emory University’s Department of Radiation Oncology since 1988, her LinkedIn page shows. She was inspired to follow in her father’s footsteps.

Mr Butker’s grandfather, James W Keller, held an appointment in the university’s Winship Department of Hematology and Medical Oncology for 13 years and the Winship Department of Radiation Oncology for 15 years.

The football player’s mother confirmed Butker is her son in a statement to the university about her son going to the Super Bowl in 2020.

“What an amazing ride these past three years have been for us watching Harrison play for the Chiefs!” Ms Butker said at the time. “We are so proud not only of Harrison’s success as a kicker in the NFL but also of the man he has become. Let’s GO CHIEFS!”

Harrison Butker with his parents Harrison and Elizabeth Butker. Ms Butker is a physicist at Emory University (Supplied)
Harrison Butker with his parents Harrison and Elizabeth Butker. Ms Butker is a physicist at Emory University (Supplied)

The 28-year-old kicker came under fire recently for telling female graduates at Benedictine College in Atchison, Kansas, that they “have had the most diabolical lies told to you”.

He continued: “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?” he asked.

“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.”

The football player has previously claimed that his wife, Isabelle Butker, has said that her life started “when she began living her vocation as a wife and as a mother.” The couple have two children together.

The Independent has emailed a representative for Mr Butker for comment. In a statement to CNN, the NFL said “Harrison Butker gave a speech in his personal capacity. His views are not those of the NFL as an organization,” Senior Vice President Jonathan Beane, the league’s chief diversity and inclusion officer, said. “The NFL is steadfast in our commitment to inclusion, which only makes our league stronger.”

Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker embarces Taylor Swift after Super Bowl 58 (AP)
Kansas City Chiefs kicker Harrison Butker embarces Taylor Swift after Super Bowl 58 (AP)

The backlash to the kicker’s comments, which included disaparing Pride Month and COVID policies, has been strong with many calling for him to loose his spot on the roster.

An online petition calling for Mr Butker to be released has almost enough signees to fill Arrowhead Stadium, where the Chiefs play, twice. The petition has nearly 140,000 signatures, while the Chiefs’ home seats roughly 76,000.

An op-ed written by Sam McDowell for The Kansas City Star, read: “This wasn’t a case of foot-in-mouth. It was a well-prepared speech. And I’d argue the backlash has not prompted him to regret one bit of what he said. Another op-ed in The Nation called the player “a jerk” and “a bigot” in the headline.

Users on X also bashed Mr Butker over the speech.

“I actually think that Harrison Butker quoting Taylor Swift in his dumpster fire of a speech is hilarious when you consider that the song he quoted (Bejeweled) is about a successful woman telling a mediocre man to step aside so she can shine,’ user McKenzie Hopson David noted.

“Harrison Butker, I hope you miss every kick this season & you are herby banished from the Swiftie-Chiefs Kingdom alliance. Disrespecting pride month and my trans friends? Nah bro, we identify YOU and your hateful heart as the problem,’ user Caitlin Oishi wrote.

Mr Butker’s speech, however, sat well with one group of people: Conservatives. One social media commentator wrote that the kicker’s speech was “100% correct.”

“Not a word Harrison Butker says here should be remotely controversial,” the person said. “Those trying to convince women that being assistant VP of lending & intentionally childless at age 40 is more fulfilling than making a family and home are evil.”